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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Matthew Edward Mondragon

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Photo by Courtesy

Matthew Mondragon was not afraid to speak his mind. 

When Matthew Edward Mondragon found a passion, he poured himself into it. He was not afraid to speak his mind, and he always sought a good time.

Matthew Mondragon spent much of his time on a basketball court, and his closest friendships revolved around the sport. He grew up in San Antonio, Texas, was a die-hard Spurs fan and dreamed of someday making enough money to buy his parents everything they ever wanted. He was very direct with people and wanted to help others — traits he hoped to live out as a lawyer. 

“[He was] very honest. He spoke how he felt, and people respected that of him,” said John Mondragon, Matthew Mondragon’s father. 

Matthew Mondragon studied political science at Texas A&M. He lived in Walton Hall his freshman year and often played basketball at the Student Recreational Center or on the Northside campus courts. He joined Sigma Alpha Mu, a Jewish fraternity, and he and his fraternity brothers would play basketball, go to football games and socialize at the Hillel Institute across from campus. 

“That was one of his big loves, basketball, he played pretty much his whole life,” said Sylvia Mondragon, Matthew Mondragon’s mother. “He loved to be the center of attention … He was a very loyal type of friend, very stubborn and strong-willed.”

Matthew Mondragon was never idle. He always worked, whether it was at restaurants like Whataburger and Bill Millers in San Antonio or at his uncle’s law firm. Matthew Mondragon loved to teach himself how things worked — a trait Matt Stahl, Matthew’s close friend, said found a home in car repair. 

Stahl met Matthew Mondragon through basketball where they formed a close friendship that lasted through high school and college. Stahl remembers how Matthew would work on cars all the time during their friendship.

“He took a lot of pride in anything that he owned,” Stahl said. “He always had a job, always loved to make his own money, and he would put it into the things that he loved. He would buy these really cheap cars and fix them up himself … He loved to learn how things worked.” 

Matthew Mondragon had a strong work ethic and respect for other people’s belongings. He would often offer to help Stahl’s mother when she washed the dishes or cleaned the house, and one time he did an expensive detail job on Stahl’s car for just $50.

“He was never reckless with anything he owned,” Stahl said. “He had a real good concept of working hard, of earning things, and respecting what he worked for and what other people had. He respected his belongings and other people’s belongings.”

Matthew Mondragon died May 2, 2015. His mother and friends best remember Matthew Mondragon not just for his passions, but for how his smile conveyed a simple goal — to always have fun.

“He always wanted to have fun. That was his main deal in life — to always have fun,” Sylvia Mondragon said. “He was always up for a good time, always had that smile…That’s what his friends always mentioned to me. That’s how I remember him.”

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