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May 5, 1995 - Jan. 6, 2013

Martin Alberto Garza, 17, of Brawley ended his journey on Earth, earned his angel wings, and was taken to the gates of Heaven on Sunday, January 6, 2013.
Martin, the son of Martin and Yulil Garza and younger brother of Yulinda Garza, was born May 5, 1995 in El Centro. He attended schools in Brawley and was most recently a senior at Brawley Union High School. When he was a young child, he had a strong sense of work ethic as he began recycling cans from his parents' house and grandmother's house to earn a little bit of money. As Martin grew a bit older, he turned to scavenger hunts through family members' closets to include the items in his yard sales. Those small jobs led to him doing yard work, staining floors with his uncle, putting up Christmas lights, and babysitting in order to make some spending money for extracurricular activities or items he wanted for himself. Martin was most proud of his job as a field worker this past year. One day as the family traveled to San Diego, Martin saw a man working in the field and waved "hi" to him. When asked by his sister who that man was Martin replied, "A coworker". His sister Yulinda then asked, "So what's his name?" and Martin said, "I don't know, but all field workers are my coworkers".
Martin, being very secure of himself, had no problem being affectionate by telling people he loved them or by giving big hugs. In doing so, he built a family bond that cannot be broken. He was a loving and respectful son, and an amazing brother. He and his sister, Yulinda were each other's world. Since the age of seven, the brother/sister duo had plans on being roommates and attending UCLA together. The close bond between the best friends had Yulinda looking forward to a new pair of Nikes from her brother each year for her birthday. And Martin wasn't just Yulil and Martin's son. He had many 'moms' all over Brawley, and they each loved him like their own as he did them, especially his football 'moms'.
Martin's passion for sports began the moment he could speak. He played Little League baseball, recreational basketball and soccer and also participated in Brawley Gladiators for a short time. He loved baseball so much, he joined several traveling teams, one being in San Luis, where they made it to the World Series held in Tucson, Arizona. Although baseball was his first love, football was his last love; but he cheated on both a little as he anticipated playing basketball this year. Martin didn't start playing football until his freshman year of high school, but during the season he was always the first one through the posters as he was ready for those 48 minutes of play.
Aside from his love for sports, Martin loved to dance. His love for dancing was evident as he was always asked to attend quinceaneras because he was the best dancer on the floor. With his dance moves, came his sense of fashion that was unlike any other. Martin loved coordinating his clothes, watches, and shoes as he had a Jordan shoe collection and a Nikon watch collection going.
When Martin wasn't on the field of play, on a dance floor or adding to his collections, he could be found with his head in the books as he studied hard, focusing on his academics. Though never judgmental, he disliked when his peers or younger children did not study or strive to educate themselves. Martin loved going to class. He enjoyed going to Science class with his sister, loved his American History class, but absolutely loved going to Pre-Calculus with Mr. Magana. It was Mr. Magana who inspired him to take Calculus during his senior year. Martin was ready to start his next journey to college as he applied to three CSU schools: SDSU, Fresno State, and Humboldt State. He definitely had a plan to leave to Mayville State, where some of his friends are already attending and playing football.
As strong as his faith was in family, Martin had a greater faith in God. He was attending Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) and attending Mass regularly at St. Margaret Mary Church. He was often rewarded with menudo after church with the Tomboc Family, as it grew to be a Sunday ritual. Martin had no problem attending Mass on his own either, and even did so the day after Prom when most teenagers his age would be sleeping in.
However, like any teenager, Martin had a weakness for sweets (cookies and brownies) and was given the nickname "Cookie Monster" back in pre-school. His pre-school teacher used alphabet cookies to get the class to line up to begin the learning day. Martin caught on pretty quick and was constantly on the lookout for that particular time, and as soon as he saw his teacher walking up with the cookies, he made sure he was at the front of the line. But seeing as he loved cookies, he would make his way to the end of the line with his first cookie so he could receive another. And since that day, Martin was hooked on cookies and brownies.
Although his time with us was short, Martin was a young man who was full of life. He was extremely passionate about his school and his town of Brawley. As an outgoing person with a huge heart, Martin always befriended those who sat alone, didn't "fit" in, or were simply having a bad day. He served as an advocate for children who were bullied or ignored due to differences. Martin always went the extra mile to ensure everyone was taken care of, all while wearing a smile of his own. And city limits didn't stop him either. He knew no boundaries, as his outgoing personality befriended many in the Imperial Valley and beyond, throughout the years. Martin especially loved his best friends and they always had one another's backs. It was a blessing for him to have been accompanied by them in his last moments.
He was preceded in death by his paternal grandfather, Cornelio Garza; and maternal grandmother, Maria Alonso.
Martin is survived by his loving family: parents, Martin and Yulil Garza of Brawley; sister, Yulinda Garza of Brawley; maternal grandfather, Horacio Alonso; paternal great- grandmother, Orvilia Garza and grandmother Socorro Garza; aunts and uncles, Maria Orvilia and Rex Lainez, Tita and Ricardo Borboa, Olivia and Salvador Hernandez, Alonso H. and Leticia Alonso, Yethel Alonso, Francisco and Meghan Alonso, Tina and Virgil Parker, Destiny and Kenny Brown, Ashley and Ricardo Contreras, Marley Alonso, Marlena and Ramses Pineda; and numerous cousins and friends.
The family welcomes everyone to attend services Friday, January 18, 2013 at Warne Field in Brawley. Viewing for Martin will be held at 6 p.m., with gates opening at 5 p.m. Mass will commence at 10 a.m. Saturday, January 19, 2013 at St. Margaret Mary Church in Brawley. Martin will have his final resting place at Riverview Cemetery immediately following the service. A reception will be held at the Garza Home in Brawley on Friday night and Saturday afternoon to celebrate the beautiful life and memories Martin has left with us.
The family suggests any and all flowers be sent to Warne Field on Friday. Donations can continue to be made to the M.A.G. Coalition, c/o Yulil Alonso-Garza at Sun Community Federal Credit Union or to the Martin Garza Memorial Fund at Union Bank. For additional information, the family can be contacted via email at
Martin, a loving son and brother, dedicated teammate, and loyal friend will always hold a place in our hearts. We will miss him greatly but will never forget his infectious smile, tight hugs or the way he lit up a room when he entered. We love you!

Published in Imperial Valley Press Online from Jan. 16 to Jan. 18, 2013
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