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February 05, 2014
Ito! I was reading some of the words you spoke in June when we were all together. You are so very present. We love you and miss you so much.
February 04, 2014
Hi Ito, I love you!
October 24, 2013
May the "light of Jesus Christ" our Lord shine forever on you our dear Ito, our "Prayer Warrior". Love you forever- your hija Tonita
July 09, 2013
Familia Garcia: There is no doubt that he left a great legacy...his children and grandchildren. Please accept my heartfelt condolences for the loss of your Ito.
July 08, 2013
To the entire Garcia family my sincere condolences. The words here are beautiful and tell a great story of a loving man whose legacy is well known. Cherish his teachings.
July 08, 2013
On Father's Day
June 16, 2013

What can I say about my father that everyone here doesn't already know? I was always afraid of this time the day that we would lose him from this world and release him to the world that he cherished, that of the Kingdom of God.

As I know the story, my dad and his two brothers went with their mother, Josefa Amaro, to Mexico City on a manda to la Virgen de Guadalupe. On their way back from Mexico City his mother brought him and his brothers to her ancestral homeland, Lobatos. The rest is history. My mother and dad met and married a couple of years later.

My dad was a WWII veteran. He rarely talked to me about it other than the fact he was a cook as well as a medic in the 404th Engineer Battalion. He did tell us some stories about creating snacks and deserts for the officers he cooked for. He was told some big shot generals were coming. He was supposed to make pancakes and used too much baking powder or some such ingredient. So he had too much batter. So he used the extra by making cupcakes. The generals came and tasted the cupcakes and demanded to know who made them. My dad thought he was going to get in trouble. Instead the generals wanted to know if there was more. He told this story many times and each time he told it a bit differently. He always got a kick telling the story, especially to his granddaughters.

During those early years he and his cousin Leandro Amaro and their wives, Maria Amaro (la madrina) and Bonifacia and children worked their way through the San Joaquin Valley fields picking cotton in Mendota and eventually wound up in Morgan Hill. Ita and Ito sharecropped strawberry fields, worked in the packinghouses, and eventually got steady work in the canneries in San Jose. My dad was an AFL-CIO cement mason. My mom and dad were avid labor union members and so we were lucky to have a home, have health insurance, and through hard work able to provide the American Dream. We went to college, found jobs and eventually their modeling which has kept us alive. During the time we lived in San Jose my dad and mom supported my sister and I to go to school, the true American dream. Of course I was involved in the politics of the day and the student movement, which my dad did not always agree with. But he did not criticize me.

During the years we were out of the house my mom and dad became servants of the Lord. They were inspired by the Cursillo movement, the Guadalupano Society, and finally el Movimiento Carismatico de la Renovacion, the charismatic movement. My mom found a place where she could express her lifelong pain and sorrow. My Dad rejoiced in having discovered the Holy Spirit. They were so involved that we had to make an appointment to see them. They were involved in the church every step of the way and that's why they have always been free of disease, distress, anxiety, and depression.

Another incident out of many that I remember clearly was in 1993 when my dad and mom had bought an RV. They had never camped in their life except when working in the fields earlier in their life together. The decided that they were going to go to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to the 25th Anniversary Convention of the Charismatic Movement in the United States. I looked at the distance, the weather, and decided I was going. I pictured my mom driving this big ol' RV and struggling against the rain and winds. And indeed that's what happened. When both my dad and I got to Oklahoma we let mom drive. It was the worst time as she dove through a storm of rain, sleet, and rivers of highway. We went and spent almost ten days together. It turned out to be one of the best events of my life. We started talking about what happened in our early years. We laughed, we cried, and we forgave each other. And for the first time in my life that I could remember my dad told me that he loved me. Ever since then my dad always said “I love you”. I love you too, Ito. On the easy back we went to Chicago to visit Pablo Lara, we went to Clyde, Kansas where Ito was born, and then we had to rush home because Cecilia was about to be born.

On the other hand Ito was quiet. He wasn't necessarily a conversationalist. His conversation was his silence. He said everything through his quiet demeanor. You could be telling him something and you could wait for hours it seemed before he would respond if he did at all, but when he did you knew he had been listening. He mulled things over a lot before he would speak. It was this silence that inspired me to become a member of the Contemplative Outreach movement. Before the word there're was silence.

Ito was much loved by everyone. He was a spiritual man, a holy man. He was quiet and did his work in support of Ita and her calling to awaken the spirit in all of us. Ito said prayers for all of us. Said the rosary daily. He was a man of character, contemplation, and deep spiritual understanding. You never heard him talk about anyone, criticize anyone, speak negatively about anyone. Even when he was nudged out as sacristan of the church he did not complain although he was hurt. He was a man of joy, respect, and humor. He was funny. Everything he said had a double, triple meaning.

Another thing about Ito was that he always had these little sayings and quips. In the last few days of his life he made a few. One day sitting in his living room chair he said, “Turn it around to see if it looks the same”. Life is about that. You have to turn it around what ever you are doing, thinking, and feeling. Nothing looks the same from another angle. If it does, you have to be suspicious. Another thing he said was “How can you see from far away?” This is not just a literal question. It applies to things like your Christian practice. How can you read the word of God if you are far away from its truths in your life. Christ is about love, not about hate. You accept others not criticize them. You take time to understand them and not disregard them. You want to help the poor, the hungry, the homeless, and the unemployed, not blame them for their problems. You want to help them, not hurt them in your thoughts and actions. One final thing he said amongst many other things we heard was “Oh boy, we had a lot of fun; now its time to face the real truth.” He told this to his grandchildren when the adults were not around. He knew his days were limited. My mom and sister and I were trying to protect him by not letting him know he was terminally ill, but he was trying to protect us by not letting us know he knew.

Analicia also said that Ito, when he was sitting in his chair, moved his left hand towards his left and upwards as if someone had taken his hand. Ito looked up and said, “La Madrina me dio su mano.” La Madrina of course is Ito and Ita's life long Madrina from their marriage. She passed a couple of years ago and the three seemed inseparable throughout their adult lives.

This last year was the only times I have know my dad to be sick. He had pneumonia in his lung last year and he healed from that. It was in November of last year that we found out he had incurable inoperable cancer. It was only a matter of time and we were there for him. My mom was strong and available to the love of her life. My wife Josie and our daughters, Maricela, Analicia, and Cecilia, were here daily the last few weeks taking turns attending to his needs. Two wonderful women, Martita and Silvia, were by Ito's side every night. Silvia was here every evening at 10 and stayed until 3. Martita came at 3 and stayed until 8. Maria Yanez was hired to stay with my dad all day. She was a miracle worker knowing exactly what to do as my dad's pain increased. They deserve a lot of recognition and gratitude for their loving kindness, compassion. My primo hermano, Oscar Castanon, was with them for 2 or 3 weeks before Ito died helping with my dad. Myself, my mom, and sister, and the rest of our family will be forever grateful for his compassion for his tio, as well as the women who helped care for my dad in his last days.

My daughters were wonderful to the last minute. Maricela who just finished her first year of medical school stayed with my dad and mom and helped us channel medical opinion from friends, professors, and others she knew to give Ito the best treatment care possible. Analicia was present and helping in everyway she could by supporting, holding up, and backing up everything needed in those moments. Cecilia came from Los Angeles even though she had summer responsibilities in school. She was there in the last moments as we witnessed my dad's final breaths. Josie was there daily in thought and spirit and in her presence to try to help Ito be comfortable. Everyone helped through their good thoughts, kind words, prayers, positive energy, and love sent our way. My primas, Sandy and Irene, from Oxnard and Tia Chita were here every time they could over the last few weeks and the months after we knew of his illness. To them I send them all my love.

On his last night he left us when no one was looking. Silvia was going to give him his medicine. He wouldn't open his mouth. She called Cecilia. Cecilia called me and by the time we knew it Ito had had his last breath.

To my dad on Father's Day I say “I love you, Ito.” I know you are in heaven looking in on us, chuckling, sonriendo, saying, “I got you! “

Presented in Spanish to the viewers at St. Joseph Church, Firebaugh, CA
June 16, 2013
July 08, 2013
Ito's many qualities

Ito had many qualities, which I admired and respected. He was a man of integrity and grace. He was a hard workers and a man of his word.

Throughout all the years I knew him, not once, not once, did I ever hear him judge or criticize anyone. He accepted and embraced everyone as they are.

I will forever grateful to him simply for being. I am thankful that my children were blessed with his love.

Josie Rangel
Daughter-in-law forever

June 16 2013
July 08, 2013
Maricela's Ito - Eulogy

When I would call and check up on Ito and Ita, Ito would ask me how school was going. I told him it was difficult. He would say, mija, hijita, have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and pray to the Holy Spirit. If you have faith the Lord will guide you through. Everything will be all right. He would give me his blessing and at that point I felt okay again. I could continue with the love of the Lord. The strength of his faith was incomparable.

And Ito would always make me laugh…he still makes me laugh. I would tease him about his love for desserts…we were about to sit down for a nice dinner at my parent's house and he was always seated first. I once watched him from across the table look to his left, then to his right, thinking no one was watching and he tried to snatch a cookie. I said, “Itoooo…” and he dropped the cookie real fast and chuckled his famous little chuckle.

Did Ito love to eat! Once he started a meal there was not stopping him, he wouldn't say anything, just totally focused on his food. We'd ask him, Ito how is your food? Good…real good. And he'd continue.

He would talk about his time in Italy, about baking and about translating for the Americans and Italians. And recently he told me about when he called his mother to tell her he was coming home. He sang to me, the same song he sung to her over the phone…it was so beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes.

Ito and Ita were there at my most important milestones…high school graduation, college graduation in the smoldering heat (everyone else was passing out but to my Itos the heat was nothing, they were so strong); and last summer, at my induction ceremony, when I began medical school.

I know I am where I am because of the support of my Ito, because of his faith in God, the faith he had in me, and because of all the prayers he said for me. I have the best father in the world, such a hard worker…and he is such a great father because he had a great father…he loved his family and worked hard for his family, worked hard so his kids could have the opportunities that he didn't. Ito, I love you with all of my heart. Thank you for being my Ito, my grandfather, and for allowing me to be your granddaughter, for allowing me to be there for you. You are forever in my heart.

Love you Ito, Your oldest granddaughter,

July 08, 2013
Ito, such a beautiful spirit

Our Ito is such a beautiful spirit, a kind and loving heart with a precious smile & eyes that would make everyone in the room want to smile too. My Ito was a jokester, sometimes with humor that you either got or you didn't, an element that my pop and sisters seemed to have inherited and so proud of it. Our Ito, so, so, strong, independent, hardworking.

As he transitioned through life so did his relationship with his lord Jesus Christ. This relationship grew stronger and stronger. Ito, so strong in faith & relayed his divine belief to those around him.

Through our Ito & Ita came our father, another blessing of ours. I see such beautiful & at times funny similarities between our Ito and my father. I just smile though our Ito is no longer here physically, he is so much here spiritually, in our hearts and in our minds.

I do not believe our Ito is gone, but ever present (smiling, guiding, protecting us). Our Ito always had wings and its now his turn to use them in the heavenly & divine state that he is in right now.

I can still hear his precious voice, “Ok mija, love you, and may God bless you. And don't forget to have faith”, that same strength you had. We will never lose that faith you taught us. The relationship and love my sisters have for our Ito is strong and sacred and infinite.

A leader, a teacher, a guide, a grandfather, a husband, our Abuelito. Ito a blessing. Long live our Ito, always and forever and ever.

- Analicia
June 16, 2013
July 08, 2013
For My Ito

Cecilia Maya Rangel-Garcia

A child's memory is very blurry
But if he or she looks and listens close enough, they'll see
It's hard for me to put my pieces together
However there is a moment I specifically remember
The carpet was blue and so was the sky
The room was dark and open were my eyes
It was time for the kindergarteners to take a nap
But my mind was caught in an ever-lasting trap
My Ito was over a few nights before
Whistling tunes I couldn't help but adore
I wanted to whistle along with him
But my chances to learn were very slim
As I laid on the ground, pillow under head
I pursed my lips and took a breath
Sound escaped and I couldn't believe
That my goal had been so quickly achieved
I wanted to run to my Ito and tell him about it
But I was stuck in nap time, unable to press quit
This is the earliest memory I possess
Because it was my first real moment of success
I don't remember what happened the rest of the day
I'm sure I went home and called my Ito to say
Ojala que me tengas orgullo
Y ito, para siempre, te amo muchÍsimo

I wrote this poem for my Ito my freshman year of college. Unfortunately, I never read it to him, but I know that he is listening now. This is for you my Ito.

The last few days that I spent with Ito are still so clear in my mind. I remember every moment. One of these moments was when I was helping my Ito into bed. My sister and I stood him up out of his wheelchair, and I told him to hold onto me. My sister said “Bailar con Ceci, Ito.” And as we turned around so he could sit down, I said, “Don't worry Ito, I got you.” And in his beautiful, compassionate voice my Ito said, “I got you too!” and chuckled his happy chuckle that I will never forget. I know that is exactly what my Ito is doing in heaven—watching over me, my family, and all of his friends, guiding us and strengthening us each and every day. I love you Ito, I got you in my heart forever. "And I got you in mine, my Ceci!" Ito would say.

Eulogy to Ito
June 16, 2013
July 07, 2013
Querido Tio - We can never thank you and Tia Pacha for all the love and support you gave to my Mom and our family. My father Leandro could not have had a better primo hermano - you were a strong, loving father figure for me and my sisters. We miss you.
June 19, 2013
I love you mi querido Ito. Para siempre en mi corazon.
June 15, 2013
Rembering Uncle Johnny, he always reminded me of my grandpa Mar is brother Chelo. I'm sorry for your loss Tia Pacha, Johnny & Tonita. Your Dad was a peaceful quiet spirited man and this is what I'll remember about him. He was truly a Godly man, a well lived life. He was truly a blessed man.
Blessings to you as you hold the memories in your heart. Cousin Patty (Sandy's daughter)
June 15, 2013
we send our family the Garcia's our deepest sympathy. We will miss our Uncle Johnny. He has been and inspiration to me. And I will always remember his loving way, the prayers and scriptures he shared but most of all his Patience. God blessed him with many years but he gave us examples on how to use those yesrs wisely and live life to the fullest and always put God first. Te amo Tia y mis primos y que Dios los bendiga
June 15, 2013
It's so true "You don't know how much someone means to you (Uncle Johhny)till they are gone". God Bless The Garcia Family.
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