Stephen (Steve) Thomas Garcia, 60, of Bozeman, passed away Feb. 4, 2014. He was born Nov. 3, 1953 in Albuquerque, N.M., the 6th of 11 children to William Garcia and Viola (Baca) Garcia.
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Steve graduated from St. Pius X Catholic High School in Albuquerque, where he excelled in track. He ran a sub five minute mile at the State High School track meet! He received his undergraduate degree from University of New Mexico with a degree in psychology and sociology and a master's degree in human resources from the University of Utah.
While attending the University of New Mexico he was part of the ROTC detachment and later served our country as a 1st Lieutenant in the Marine Corp from 1975 to 1979. He followed in the patriotic footsteps of his father, William, who enlisted in the United States Navy at the onset of World War II and served as a radio operator on an island in the South Pacific. He learned of the value of hard work and integrity from his mother, Viola, who after graduating from high school in Belen, N.M., moved to California to work as a riveter at an airplane factory in support of the war effort.
He married Loretta (Malm) Bendz on Nov. 15, 1980 in Wahoo, Neb.; they had three daughters, Michaela, Alaina and Morena. The couple later divorced.
During the course of his life, he pursued his dreams while living in New Mexico, California and Utah, before finally moving to Bozeman in 1991. In Bozeman, he started his own insurance business, Professional Health Planning , that provided health insurance for small to medium sized businesses.
To say that Steve Garcia loved the outdoors would be a huge understatement. Moving to Bozeman represented the fulfillment of a dream that afforded him the opportunity to live in close proximity to some of the most spectacular natural resources that this country had to offer. Whether it was backpacking in the Rocky Mountains, fly fishing on the Gallatin River or cross-country skiing, Steve seized every opportunity to share his love of the outdoors with his family and friends.
Steve was committed to improving the fabric of his community through his volunteer efforts. He was a member of the Bozeman Kiwanis Club, Bozeman Noon Rotary, Trout Unlimited, and Big Brothers and Sisters. Steve served as a big brother to Kiefer for many years during which time he imparted his love of the outdoors.
He was preceded in death by his father, William; brother, Martin; and sister, Cecilia. Survivors include his mother, Viola Garcia of Albuquerque, N.M.; three daughters, Michaela Schannep (James) of Santa Maria, Calif., Alaina Garcia and Morena Garcia both of Bozeman; siblings, Mark Garcia of Oxnard, Calif., Lara Garcia of Albuquerque, Jim Garcia (Gloria) of Denver, John Garcia of Albuquerque, Imelda Francis (Tim) of Chicago, Catherine Scott (Dan) of Albuquerque, Michael Garcia (Theresa) of Albuquerque, and Maria Geer (Rod) of Albuquerque.
A memorial service with military honors was held at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 at the Alliance Fellowship Church in Bozeman (205 N. Church). A second memorial service will be held in Albuquerque, N.M. at a later date. Memorials may be made in his name to The Big Brothers and Sisters or the Yellowstone Conservancy.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com or forevermissed.com/steve-garcia.
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Feb. 16, 2014