Todd Eugene Kendrick, an 18-year-old freshman at SF State, loved video games and his pet lizards. He had a veracious appetite for life and never feared trying new things. He dreamed of exploring the world before settling down and immersing himself in the vast beauty of South Dakota.
Tragically, Kendrick’s promising life was cut short on Thursday, Dec. 2 when he lost control of his car and struck a wall in his hometown of Fremont.
“He was a great person, always cared about others and always put smiles on our faces,” said Rachna Yadav, who had been a close friend to Kendrick since age 10. “Every time he would laugh, he would manage to get everyone around him to laugh. We definitely had a lot of good times together and I miss him dearly.”
Kendrick graduated from Irvington High School where he was choir president and was working toward a degree in biology and zoology. He hoped his future degree would help lead to his own pet shop where he planned to raise bearded dragons.
Though he suffered from Cerebral Palsy and Hydrocephalus, he didn’t let his disability affect him as a person.
“He touched a lot of people,” said Kelsey Kendrick, his twin sister. “He was always happy-go-lucky and he would always try to make other people feel better about themselves. He could laugh about anything and he helped so many people because of that.”
This was Kendrick’s first semester at SF State and Ashley Pruitt, who considered herself among his best friends, said he loved everything the city and the school offered.
“It was his little escape from Fremont,” Pruitt said. “There was a part of him he had to leave in the past. He wanted to go somewhere new and San Francisco was that place.”
Despite only spending a semester at SF State, Kendrick’s presence is something friends and faculty alike agree can’t be replaced.
“While Todd was only a student with us for a short while, his loss to our community is still felt,” said University spokeswoman Ellen Griffin. “He had just started on the college chapter of his life and we share with his close friends and family a great sense of loss and sadness.”
Like many of his friends, Kendrick’s sister said her fondest memories of him are the simple times they spent hanging out, just being in each other’s company.
She reminisced about Black Friday, when they had the time of their lives shopping for deals and sharing a table at Denny’s at four in the morning.
“I love him and I miss him,” she said.
Both at school and work, Kendrick was the one people turned to when they needed a little sunshine to brighten their foggiest days.
“He meant well in every situation,” said Ben Palmberg, who worked alongside Kendrick at Jamba Juice in his hometown. “He was a really good person to the core.”
Although Kendrick’s loss is upsetting, those who knew his calming presence and kind heart maintain that he is gone but not forgotten.
“If I could talk to him again, I would tell him I’m very proud of him,” Pruitt said. “No matter what, he could accomplish anything.”
Kendrick is survived by mother Melba and father Adrian Kendrick; twin sister Kelsey Kendrick; and grandmother Maxine Mills.
A memorial service will be held at Berge Pappas Smith Chapel of the Angels 40842 Fremont Blvd., Fremont on Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 2 p.m. The family requests that remembrances be sent to the Hydrocephalus Association of San Francisco at 870 Market Street, Suite 705 San Francisco, CA 94102.