BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - As many across the Brazos Valley are mourning the loss of Brazos County Commissioner and business owner Sammy Catalena, they're also counting themselves fortunate to have wonderful memories of him.
Brazos County Judge Duane Peters and Catalena went to high school together. They were always friends, but Judge Peters says their friendship grew stronger when Catalena joined the Brazos County Commissioners Court in 2011.
Judge Peters says one of the things he'll miss the most about Catalena is his witty sense of humor.
"I think people are just going to miss having his wit. That's really a lot of what I've enjoyed about him because he just had to have a good wit about him and he can make you laugh," said Peters.
Catalena's fellow commissioner, Steve Aldrich says he's always known Catalena as a leader in the community.
"Prior to me becoming a commissioner, I had known Sammy and about him with all of the work he had done in the community. Just a phenomenal citizen, you know, the business, the Catalina Cowgirls, the rodeo and livestock," said Aldrich.
Aldrich says Catalena had many roles in the community, including serving as a role model to others.
"People would seek his advice and he would give it to them, and he would shoot it straight with them and you know, they may not have always like exactly what he had to say, but he would shoot it straight with you and a straight shooter is always appreciated because they give good advice," said Aldrich.
Aldrich says of one the best things the community can do in remembering Mr. Catalena is honoring the things that he thought were important, including community involvement.
"When someone like Sammy checks out, you step in and take up the place and you do what you can in order to memorialize them and your actions and the way you think, great people in our community are always worthy of that," said Aldrich.
"He's been good for the community, involved in lots of things and he’s really been a good commissioner. He’s been here. He’s been involved in everything we’ve done. So he’s going to be missed and he’ll be missed by me, certainly, and I think everyone in the community is going to miss him," said Judge Peters.