Before his tragic death last October, University of Arizona professor Thomas Meixner went to church at St. Cyril Roman Catholic Parish in Midtown Tucson, at Pima and Swan.

Pastor Paul Henson says he and his family attended mass every Sunday.

The church plans to honor him by dedicating two areas on property in his name.

One is a garden area outside St. Cyril School, where desert grasses and native plants have been planted in an area that naturally collects rainwater.

He wanted to manage the water in the best way, so we wouldnt turn on water hoses and take out water from the wells, said Henson. We had natural water. That he said, Just harness it. Keep it. Keep it safe. And use it for the future.

Henson says Meixners passion for science was matched by his strong faith.

Just always knew him as a lector, a guy who would always come in 15 minutes before Mass, look at the readings and start smiling and start laughing, Henson reflected. Connecting with people in sacristy. Taking the lectionary and putting it on the ambo. And just prepared. Just really prepared to proclaim Gods word.

For as long as he was a parishioner, [this church] meant the world to him. This is where he got to pray, and to bring his family. And to worship God.

St. Cyril was also the site of his funeral last October.

We had 1,000 people that were here to remember a hero, Henson recalled. To remember a faithful guy. To remember a Christian who washed the feet of his friends, his students and his family, and his parish.

But just months before he passed, Meixner left the church a gift. Henson says he built a stone walkway in the patio outside the churchs main office.

They built all the pavers, so the gray stones, said Henson. He and his son and a bunch of the Boy Scouts came in for four Sundays in a row and they put all this together

The idea is that were gonna have a plaque dedicating this whole space to Tom Meixner.

St. Cyril is taking donations to pay for dedicating those spaces. A dedication that, like the plants and Meixners memory, will live on.

He listened to everyone that needed him, said Henson. His students, his family, his parish, St. Cyril Parish. He was always there for us.