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Charles "Chuck" Gara, 65, of Albuquerque, NM passed away Friday, May 3, 2013 surrounded by his loving family, wife Margie, daughters Denise and Amy, sister Rosemary Porsberg, niece Terri Porsberg and close friends Lloyd and Jessica Bonzon, Dawn Moyer and Mary Foster. Chuck is survived by his wife of 45 years, Margie Gara, daughters, Denise Gara and Amy Banks, his grandchildren Kiera and Liam Banks, sister, Rosemary Porsberg of El Paso, niece, Terri Porsberg of El Paso, brother-in-law David Hopkins and wife Debbie, and their sons Mike and Kevin of The Woodlands, Texas. Chuck was born in Uniontown, PA in 1947. He resided in El Paso until after graduation from college. In 1972 he moved to Roswell, NM where he started his real estate career. He was President of the Roswell Board of Realtors, named to the Outstanding Young Men of America and was active in Jaycees and on the board of the Girls Club.In 1984 he moved to Albuquerque and started his real estate firm, Gara Commercial. Chuck was appointed to the City of Albuquerque Planning Department in 1997. The Commercial Association of Realtors (CARNM) honored Chuck by being the first recipient of the President's Award in 2002, an award created to recognize him as an outstanding member, and in 2003 was named Realtor of the Year by CARNM. He was respected by all and gave his personal and professional commitment to the industry. He was recognized for nearly three decades of work in the local real estate industry and with civic and charitable organizations. In 2003, The National Association of Industrial and Office Property (NAIOP) organization created the Vision Award that recognizes a person that adds to the future of the NM landscape through imagination and creativity and Chuck was the first recipient of the award. In 2007 he was elected chairman of the NAIOP charter of NM. Being a cancer survivor, Chuck and his wife led a group at Faith Lutheran church for 9 years called "Each Day is a Gift". Chuck was also a major fundraiser, board member and President of Casa Esperanza, a home for cancer patients and their families from around the state to live at while receiving treatments. Chuck was the first President of the Rotary Club of Albuquerque Del Norte and was Tournament Director of the NM Charity Classic Nike Tour golf tournament that benefited many charities. Chuck served on the board of directors for Alvarado Realty Co. which owns and operates Sandia Tram, Sandia Ski Area, Santa Fe Ski Area and other real estate properties throughout the southwest. For the past two years Chuck was the Director of the Property Control Division in the General Services Department where he was the state's top official for managing all of NM's real estate and capital outlay expenditures. Chuck was instrumental in bringing a private sector perspective to state government where he championed capital outlay reform by establishing a common set of criteria to rank all capital projects based on need and return on investment to the taxpayer. As the senior real estate manager for the state, Chuck rewrote state leases and personally negotiated reductions in lease cost, saving the state $2M per year. He also led the state's efforts in the 2013 legislative session to pass new laws to streamline facility management and to allow more innovative approaches to the procurement of major construction projects. Besides giving to his community, different business organizations and charities he was a very devoted husband and father, he cherished his family life. He felt and knew that Margie and he had an incredible marriage. He never missed out on any of the girl's events and was always supportive of their lives. In recent years, Chuck was blessed to be a grandpa to Kiera and Liam. Margie, Denise and Amy are fortunate to have seen this aspect of him and how much joy he had when his grandkids were around. As a younger brother to Rosemary, he would tease that she always beat him up, but she values his wisdom and knowledge and is thankful that he introduced her to her best friend, Margie. Chuck was more than an uncle to Terri, taking on a role as her business mentor in Real Estate and providing valuable advice, both professionally and personally. "Chuckles" had a smile that always made her day, and his belief that we could do anything we set out hearts on always reassured Terri. To David, Chuck was more than a brother-in-law, he took on the role of big brother and provided a sense of family. Chuck lived with strength, integrity, leadership, dignity and was always thankful for his life. The family would like to express heartfelt gratitude to the staff at Presbyterian Hospital who always took care of Chuck with such expertise and compassion on each of his stays throughout the years. The family has such special love and gratitude for Dr. Miguel Pellerano for all his years of caring for Chuck's welfare. Cremation has taken place and a Memorial Service will be held at Faith Lutheran Church, 10,000 Spain NE on Saturday, May 11, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. with Pastor Mike Easton officiating. Private Interment will take place. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation Nurses Education Fund or to Casa Esperanza. Please visit our online guest book for Chuck at

Published in El Paso Times from May 8 to May 15, 2013
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