Shoppers and colleagues at Raley's in Pleasanton have been paying tribute to longtime bagger/courtesy clerk David "Dave" Mintkenbaugh, who died unexpectedly from natural causes on Sept. 29 at the age of 54.
A memorial table has been set up prominently at the front of the grocery store with a poster filled with notes of remembrance, as well as flowers, coconut water (Mintkenbaugh's favorite drink) and a recognizable wide-brim hat like he used to wear while working outdoors at the Sunol Boulevard store.
"Dave would always go out of his way to make sure that a customer's specific needs were met," co-worker Jason Taylor-Weber told the Weekly. "He and I were very close at work, so I know that outside of work, he really enjoyed movies and old music."
Mintkenbaugh, who had worked at Raley's for the past 15 years, was set to be honored at a celebration of life outdoors in Folsom on Thursday; several of his co-workers were taking time off from work in order to attend.
Both customers of Raley's, as well as Mintkenbaugh's colleagues at the store, said they will miss his cheerful disposition and his warm, welcoming smile.
Customer Robin Fewster said she was very surprised and saddened to learn of Mintkenbaugh's death, noting that he has been a fixture at the supermarket since she moved to town in the early 2000s. She added that she'll miss his positive attitude and friendly demeanor.
Ellen Goldsmith, another customer, described Mintkenbaugh as "helpful and dependable, and a true asset to Raley's customer service."
But it is perhaps Dave's co-workers at Raley's who will miss him most of all. Courtesy clerk Ranjan Malahotra described enjoying a wonderful relationship with Mintkenbaugh, saying they often worked side by side, joking and laughing. Cashier Phyllis Ihles said she would greatly miss Mintkenbaugh, whom she called "just the sweetest, most helpful guy."
Courtesy clerk Jeff Priscaro recalled interacting with Dave from the time he was just a young child coming to the store. When Piscaro started working at Raley's later on in his life, he said Mintkenbaugh formally introduced himself and proclaimed "We're going to have a blast together, kid. I'm going to teach you everything I know."
Editor's note: Editor Jeremy Walsh contributed to this story.