Bob Wallace, of Turlock, was in the island country to help celebrate the wedding of his stepson, Tommy Tickenoff.
Hospitalized and too sick to participate in the day’s festivities, no one had a clue Wallace wouldn’t be rejoining his family.
“We miss him greatly.” Thirty members of the family took off for the Dominican Republic to be in place for Tickenoff’s wedding on April 14.
A bottle of scotch from the minibar in his room at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana seems to be where Wallace’s decline started.
“It was kind of really a quick turn of events after that that ended in his death,” Tickenoff told KTXL. Thousands of miles from home, Wallace became the first of four American tourists and one of two staying at the Hard Rock Hotel to die while vacationing at Dominican resorts and possibly partaking of minibar liquor.
For a man who spent much of his life building Turlock apartments and condominiums through his business, Wallace Construction, the family Wallace built is intent on finding the truth.
“It’s tough. I mean, you’re in the process of grieving a family member and then all these other instances come out where it just kind of adds to the pain of not knowing what happened,” Wallace’s son-in-law said.
He said Dominican authorities told the family to expect Wallace’s toxicology reports in eight to 10 weeks.
Wallace’s loved ones are planning a private memorial for him on June 29.