GREENFIELD - John P. Garcia, 96, of Brookside Avenue, died Friday 3/28/14 at the Soldier's Home in Holyoke.
He was born in Havana, Cuba on August 1, 1917 the son of John and Josephine (Sanchez) Garcia of Spain. He came to Greenfield at the age of three with his mother to join his father, who had come ahead to take a job with the Boston and Maine Railroad and to secure living quarters for the family. John attended Greenfield grammar schools until 1931 when the family moved to Spain.
He returned to the U.S. in 1936, and attended Greenfield High School, graduating with the class of 1937.
John was employed by the A&P grocery store before being drafted into the Yankee Division in the United States Army
in March of 1941. He was on coast patrol in Maine, Charleston, SC, and Camp Blanding in Jacksonville, FL before transferring to the Air Force in Columbia, SC at Fort Jackson.
He did his flight training in Denver, CO before going overseas to New Guinea, where he flew 42 combat missions as a waist gunner on a B24 Liberator Bomber. He was discharged in June of 1945 and then joined the Air Force Reserves. He remained with the Reserves until August of 1977. While in the service he was awarded a Good Conduct Medal, an Air Medal with 2 oak leaf clusters, a Philippine Liberation Ribbon with 2 bronze stars
and the Asiatic Pacific Theater Campaign Ribbon with 6 service stars.
He was employed by Harvey Baking Co. and was a manager at Bostley Motors for 12 years until his retirement in 1970. After retirement, John worked at the High Rise Apartments on Congress Street in Greenfield.
In 1941, John married Alma Connelley from Shelburne Falls. They built their home on Brookside Avenue in Greenfield, where they have lived ever since. He loved his home and always kept it neat and clean. He was a consummate gardener, growing both vegetables and flowers. He was an avid hunter, fisherman, bowler and golfer, and also enjoyed crossword puzzles. He was a member of Oak Ridge Golf Course in Gill and Thomas Memorial Golf Course in Turners Falls. He loved going to casinos and made many trips to Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Foxwoods. He and his wife also enjoyed camping, traveled to Spain, and went on an Alaskan cruise. John was a devoted Red Sox fan.
Besides his wife of 73 years, the former Alma M. Connelley, John leaves three daughters, Joanne Hastings and her husband Mike of Gill, Jeanne Kamansky and her husband George of Leverett and Gail Mitchell and her husband John of Sunderland, three grandchildren, Scott Kamansky, Justine and Luke Mitchell, a niece and a nephew.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday 4/1/14 at 10 a.m. at the Kostanski Funeral Home, 220 Federal Street, Greenfield with the Rev. Timothy J. Campoli officiating.
Burial will follow at Green River Cemetery in Greenfield.
A calling hour will be held Tuesday morning from 9 a.m. until the time of the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Franklin County Regional Dog Shelter, 10 Sandy Lane, Turners Falls, MA 01376 or to the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, 110 Cherry Street, Holyoke, MA 01040.
The family would like to thank the wonderful staff at the Soldiers' Home for the care and compassion they showed John during his short time there.
Sympathy message available at www.kostanskifuneralhome.com.