In Memory of Javier Garcia
This post is written in memory of Javier Homero Garcia. Javier, my wife’s father, recently passed away. We were fortunate that we were able to travel to see him shortly before he passed, and my wife was able to spend a solid week with him and say her goodbyes. She was close with him and loved him dearly, so healing will certainly take time. Naturally, experiences like this are never easy to navigate. But I think her being able to see him, along with the incredible support received from friends and family, have helped to smooth the difficult road ahead.
From my side of things, much of the last couple of weeks has been from the perspective of how I can be there for her. While we were visiting out of state, that primarily took the form of taking care of the kids, bringing food, or just listening and lending a shoulder to cry on whenever needed. A few days after he passed, I wondered if there was anything else I could do. Javier impacted a lot of lives in his long career as an educator (which I will come back to), and so my wife shared a tribute via social media to let people know of his passing. I don’t do much on social media outside of what’s associated with this website, but I thought that might be something tangible I could do. I can draw and write, so I decided that is exactly what I should do – draw a portrait of Javier and talk about him as a tribute.
First, I’ll share the finished portrait. Then, below the artwork, I’ll talk more about Javier’s life, career, and impact.
Although we live halfway across the country from where he lived, I have actually known him for many years. My wife and I have been together somewhere near 15 years, and so I got to interact with him first as “the boyfriend” and then eventually as a son-in-law. Before that though, he was actually the Assistant Principal where my wife and I went to high school. Javier started his career as a teacher, and then eventually went to graduate school to become a counselor, and then again to move into school administration. He was a Vice Principal for quite a while at the high school level and, based on the messages my wife has received, he made a substantial impact on many students and fellow educators.
Javier had quite an impressive career on paper, but I think what was most remarkable about him was his personality. He had what some might call “the gift of gab” – Javier Garcia could talk to anyone about anything, and become fast friends with almost anyone. He could weave a story too, and never seemed at a loss for different avenues to connect with people. I remember during one of our trips to the Pacific Northwest to visit, me, Javier, and my oldest daughter went out for breakfast. My wife was out doing something with her sister I think, so we took the opportunity to grab some pancakes. I just assumed, based on their conversation and friendliness, that Javier and our waiter were old friends…but no! That was just his way with people; his natural enthusiasm for human interaction.
There is a vast array of experiences that shape how a person’s relationships develop and grow. Every conversation, activity, and even simply spending time together gives each relationship its own form. All of these shared memories start to tell a story about the kind of person they are. In Javier’s case, it all comes together to build to build a similar narrative – a person who never met a stranger, who so many remember fondly.
So, that is the man as I knew him. Javier Garcia, who will be missed by so many.
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So much life in this drawing, Jon. What a lovely tribute and something tangible you and your wife can hold on to when remembering her father. He looks like such a happy friendly person. You’ve done him proud.
Thanks so much Claire for the kind words. He really was a such friendly person, you could see him just light up when he interacted with people
beautiful memorial, in drawing and in writing.
I really appreciate that – I found it difficult to write about, but I hope it’s a fitting tribute to him