Troy Natus was an active member of his community — running a company with his father, becoming Prince of the North Wind at the St. Paul Winter Carnival, and opening a bar with his mother five years later.
And though he bounced back from a heart transplant in 2004 and later beat kidney cancer, COVID-19 proved to be too much for the "kind and gentle giant," as his obituary describes him, and he died on January 13.
He would have turned 42 on Jan. 28.
Natus, a resident of Maplewood, became ill with COVID in mid-December and was hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic a week before Christmas, his Caring Bridge page says.
He remained on a ventilator while doctors battled numerous complications over the following weeks. Despite their best efforts, he succumbed with his wife and mother by his bedside.
He was the VP of the family business, Hamernick's Interior Solutions, and ascended to the royalty of the St Paul Winter Carnival in 2010. He remained an active member of the latter organization for the rest of his life, his obituary says.
He also helped run the other family business, Mama T's Castle Tap in Little Canada, which is where a "boisterous crowd" gathered to remember him on Saturday, the Pioneer Press reports.
The paper says there will be another gathering at the sports bar in his honor on Tuesday, January 18, following the memorial service — an event his mother Lynn describes as an "open mic for friends to share their memories."
The funeral itself will be held 12 p.m. that day at the Bradshaw Celebration of Life Center in White Bear Lake.
Natus is survived not only by his wife and mother, but also his father, three sisters and "many nieces and nephews."
"Though he battled through years of health issues and had his own mountains to climb, he never complained or failed to put others ahead of himself," his obituary says. "He simply guided and accepted others along on their own journeys with his zest for life and courageous spirit."
His family is asking that donations be made to the Gift of Life Transplant House in Rochester in lieu of flowers.