"I can't believe he's gone. He shouldn't be gone," says Megan Staker of her boyfriend's father, Abdolvahab Alaghmandan

By Wendy Grossman Kantor
May 28, 2021 01:08 PM
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Abdolvahab Alaghmandan
Abdolvahab Alaghmandan
| Credit: courtesy Megan Staker

Megan Staker spent the pandemic worrying about her boyfriend's father going to work. That man, Abdolvahab "Abdi" Alaghmandan, 63, was an essential worker at a Valley Transportation Authority light rail yard in San Jose, Calif.

"I was just always so worried about him getting COVID," says Staker, 37.

Alaghmandan, 63, avoided contracting the virus — but he died at work on Wednesday when he was one of nine people killed at the light rail yard. The shooter, a fellow VTA employee, took his own life when police responded to the scene.

"I can't believe he's gone. He shouldn't be gone," Staker says.

A substation manager, Alaghmandan worked for the VTA for 20 years, after he'd moved to the U.S. with his wife and two sons in the 1990s from Tehran, Iran.

"He was so funny and is such a great father and role model and husband. He worked so hard for his family because he wanted them to have a good life. He was such a selfless man, so generous and giving," Staker says. "He moved here without knowing any English and not knowing anyone. And he created such a great life for his family."

In the five years she has known him, Alaghmandan became like a second father to Staker, she says.

Abdolvahab Alaghmandan
Credit: courtesy Megan Staker

"He loved me so much," she says. "He immediately welcomed me into his family."

She remembers long family dinners filled with laughter, watching movies and working on a puzzle with Alaghmandan up until the minute they had to check out of their vacation rental Thanksgiving 2020.

"He brought so much joy and laughter to our lives and he's going to be missed so much," Staker says. "He's just so amazing."

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She remembers Alaghmandan as a helpful, kind man who could repair anything.

"He just knew how to fix everything," Staker says. "If our sink was broken, or it was leaking, he would come over right away to fix it. … He knew how to do everything. He fixed everything around the house."

He was often on the patio of his Castro Valley home watering and trimming his beloved bougainvillea and rose bushes.

"He was just so giving. He was always so generous. Anything we needed, he was like, 'Oh, I have that here. Let me give this to you,'" Staker says. "I just can't believe he's gone. ... It's never going to be the same without him."

Staker set up a GoFundMe page to cover the costs of Alaghmandan's memorial and help his family carry on without him.