A fixture of the Temple Wildcats community passed away last week, leaving an empty space on the sidelines of Temple High School football games.
Albert Garcia, 62, more commonly known as "The Helmet Man," suffered a heart attack during a routine dialysis appointment on Feb. 6 and died the next evening surrounded by family and friends.
"Mr. Garcia is the embodiment of Temple football," Temple associate athletic director Josh Sadler said. "It's what high school football is all about, it really is."
Garcia was widely-considered the Wildcats' No. 1 fan. At games, he rang a cowbell and waved an old 1930s Wildcat helmet in the air. He would let fellow fans rub his helmet for good luck before major moments in the game. On Facebook, one man described rubbing the helmet before a game-winning kick in 2014.
"My father was full of life and was known for his hilarious sense of humor, his kind giving heart and his ability to still keep joking and smiling despite enduring many hardships," his daughter Cristal wrote online.
Garcia was a long-time UPS driver, whose smile was known around town.
People will pay their respects to Garcia during a memorial service at 10 a.m. on Feb. 14 inside the Harper-Talasek Funeral Home at 500 W. Barton Ave. in Temple. A memorial reception will follow at the Baptist Goodwill Church located at 718 S 5th St. in Temple.
Garcia's daughter arranged a GoFundMe for help providing her father with a memorial and cremation service.
At a Sunday balloon release at Wildcat Stadium, Garcia's family donated his helmet to the school as a constant symbol of school spirit.