Rosendo and Rogelio Mendoza, Twins and Texas Welders, Die at 56

This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.

Rosendo and Rogelio Mendoza, identical twins who worked together as welders for Texas oil rigs, were inseparable, sharing a bed even as adults.

When they were ready to turn in, “They would hug each other and scratch each other’s backs,” their sister Sandy Mendoza said. “That’s how they went to sleep.”

The brothers died hours apart on Dec. 9, on different floors at the University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas.

They were 56. The cause of death was complications of Covid-19, the family said.

The family said they did not know how the brothers were exposed to the virus, but that they got sick around the same time, the weekend before Thanksgiving. Both men were coughing and felt shortness of breath.

Within days, Rogelio Mendoza went to the hospital; his brother followed the next day, their sister said. They tested positive for Covid-19 at the hospital, she said. Though assigned to separate rooms, “They both had their cellphones and they would call on each other to see how the other one was doing,” Ms. Mendoza said.

As their conditions worsened, they were placed on ventilators.

Rogelio, who suffered from an underlying health issue that affected his breathing, was soon in dire condition. He died at 4:11 a.m. on Dec. 9. Ms. Mendoza said that there was hope that Rosendo would be taken off his ventilator — but his heart suddenly began weakening that day, and he died at 8:30 p.m.

The Mendoza twins were born on Sept. 4, 1964, in Lorenzo, Texas, to Manuel Mendoza, a farmer and truck driver, and Dominga Mendoza, a homemaker. Rosendo was born first, an hour ahead of his brother.

The brothers, who fondly called each other “Moe” — after the bowl cut-wearing member of the Three Stooges — dropped out of high school in the ninth grade to help their father with farm work.

After Rosendo was found to have testicular cancer in the late 1990s, he was treated for almost a year at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Rogelio went with him.

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“He decided he wasn’t going to let his brother fight this alone,” their sister said. “He was with him night and day.”

When one fell ill, the other often did, too. When they were in school and separated by circumstance — for instance by a teacher, or the need to go to the bathroom — one would sneak out of the classroom to be with his brother. Ms. Mendoza said that as adults, if one found a job, “The other would say, ‘Can you hire my brother?’”

They only seemed to part in small ways. Both were fond of life on the farm from their work with their father, but while Rogelio loved horses, Rosendo raised roosters.

For the past 10 years, the brothers worked in Andrews, Texas, as welders, building anchors for oil rigs, their sister said. They returned to Lorenzo, about two hours away, on weekends to see their families.

Along with their sister Sandy, the brothers are survived by their mother;another sister, Ester Rojas; and three brothers, Reuben, Rudy and Manuel Jr.

Rosendo Mendoza is also survived by his wife, Victoria; two children, Christopher and Rosendo Jr.; three stepchildren, Karina Ramos, Rolando Cuevas and Jessica Cuevas; and 11 grandchildren.

Rogelio Mendoza is also survived by his daughter, Emily Mendoza.

The twins were buried according to their wishes, the family said: together.

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