Bar raises money for family of beloved bartender who unexpectedly died

Arturo Betencourt, known as JR, was a popular bartender at Pizza Rock, District 30, Dive Bar. He unexpected died on Sunday.

Anyone who's been out to K Street in downtown Sacramento has probably visited one of these spots: Pizza Rock, District 30, Dive Bar.

Arturo Betancourt, known as JR, has worked at all three and is the only one to do so. Those who work on this block were heartbroken to hear of his unexpected death on Sunday. He was only 28-years-old.

"I saw him Saturday, I was working," said Shane Twilla, JR's manager at Dive Bar. "I served him a drink. Said 'Have a good night. Love you man.' He said 'Love you too.'

Twilla described JR as a 'bartenders' bartender.'

"We would go to him and tell him about our day," said Twilla. "He was so understanding and open. He really cared."

The mermaids who swam at Dive Bar said even on days they didn't want to come into work, knowing JR was working made a difference.

"He was always so positive. I'd make myself drive down here," said Andrea Hinojosa. "I'd hold out for that hug, that squeeze. He'd be so excited to see me. It didn't matter what was going on in his life."

Since they swim in salt water tank, Hinojosa said they sometimes get sinus infections. One time when she wasn't feeling well, she joked a piece of cake would make her feel better.

"I didn't see him for a couple of weeks," said Hinojosa. "I found out he brought a piece of cake into work every single day." 

As heartbroken as all his coworkers may be, they're hurting even more for his family.

"He always had positive energy. He'd do anything," said John Demma, JR's former manager when he worked at Pizza Rock. "Sometimes, I needed him to come in at the drop of a hat. He always said 'Yes.' The only time he'd tell me no was if he was doing something with his daughter."

Monday night, Dive Bar dedicated the night to JR. 100 percent of proceeds will go towards his family. 

"Anything for his family, for his baby girl to ease the suffering," said Twilla. "K Street will never be as bright."

Friends have also set up a memorial GoFundMe page. 

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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