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Justin J. Garza, age 41, passed away peacefully on February 20, 2017 at his parent's home surrounded by his family. Justin Garza was born to Dr. San Juan and Chipper Josie Garza on July 25, 1975, in Daly City, CA. Justin was a loving father, husband, teacher, coach and friend to all. He had an ability to reach people in a deep and positive way. Justin lived out his passion for coaching for over 20 years, investing his life into coaches, players and communities. His coaching career included assistant coaching at San Joaquin Memorial, Kerman, Reedley, and Central High Schools before he moved on as head football coach at Reedley, Sunnyside and Central High Schools. His great joy was being with his wife and children. He taught his son, Joaquin, to ride a bike, and was his daughter, Elena's favorite dance partner. He pushed himself to his limits by mastering everything he put his hand to, whether lifting weights, solving cross word puzzles, or designing the perfect football play. He was a graduate of San Joaquin Memorial High School, Class of 1993. He went on to receive his Bachelor of Arts degree in Natural Sciences and Chicano Studies from California State University, Fresno, and Masters of Arts in Educational/Instructional Technology from National University. In 2014, Justin was awarded the Fresno State Kremen School of Education Noted Alumni for his significant contributions and passion for education. Justin was an avid reader and was inspired by learning. His unique intellect challenged and motivated others. Justin inspired 2,200 people to join the marrow registry in an effort to save lives. The family wishes to thank his childhood friend, Tosha Giufrida, for mobilizing and coordinating the Stand for More campaign. The family also wishes to thank Stanford Cancer Institute, and Nancy Hinds Hospice staff for their exceptional care. He was preceded in death by his grandfathers, Trinidad L. Garza, and Ike Herrera. Justin is survived by his wife Regina; son Joaquin; daughter Elena; parents; brother, Jacy D. Garza; grandmothers, Rosie Herrera, and Petra C. Garza; in-laws, Juan and Elena Garza; brother in-law Juan; and many loving uncles, aunts, cousins, and extended family. A Funeral Service will be held at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Fresno, CA, on Thursday, March 2, 2017. A Recitation of the Holy Rosary will begin at 12:30 p.m. followed by a Mass at 1:00 p.m. A Celebration of Justin's Life will continue after the services at the Fresno Convention Center. "When you do something and you have a greater purpose people want to be part of it. People want to do something that is bigger than themselves. I want to use my story to change people's lives." - Justin Garza

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Published in Fresno Bee on Feb. 26, 2017.
Memories & Condolences
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27 entries
March 5, 2017
Coach Garza. I was coached by you at Kerman High School in 96-97 when you started doing what you were blessed to do. Making a difference in young lives with your enthusiasm and commitment to winning and performing at the highest level possible. You were not just my coach. You were my friend and someone that I looked up to and enjoyed being around. I had much success down the road because I was coached by the best and that was you. Second to none. It was an honor to be by your side as a coach at Central High School. Words alone can't describe how special it was being on the football field with you and soaking it all in knowing that something special was occurring. You gave me your game worn polo shirt that I am putting in a glass frame. One day when my son is grown, I will show him and tell him the story of a legend. A real life hero who saved many lives and truly made a difference in the world. Coach Justin Garza
Jesse Acosta
March 3, 2017
My condolences to Regina and the Garza family. I never had the pleasure of meeting Justin, but I have admired from a distance Justin's coaching style, his commitment to his players and his commitment to living life well! I pray for Regina,her children and the Garza family to find their way in life with Justin in their heart and soul!
March 3, 2017
I wouldn't be half the man I am today without you. You taught me to a man before I even became one. One thing I won't ever forget is how much you pushed me every single day, on and off the field. I might have not been the most athletic but that never matter to you. You still treated me the equally the same. I genuinely thankful for Everything you instill in me. May you Rest In Peace coach, you are now with the Man above.
Chris Tran
March 2, 2017
I had the honor of being Justin's teammate for football and wrestling. I still remember the day Justin stopped by my job and the excitement in his eyes of his first coaching opportunity. Justin taught me how to lead by example and give everything you have. My deepest condolences to the Garza family.
Matthew Olivares
March 1, 2017
What an amazing man. I am proud to say I knew Justin as a student and a person of great talent and generosity. Comfort to his friends and family at this time. Know that you will only grow in the Blessings God has in store for you. In my thoughts and Prayers.
Sister Kathleen Drilling, SSND
March 1, 2017
Sending our deepest condolences to Dr. Garza and the entire Garza family. We never had the opportunity of meeting Justin but we followed his Journey and Battle. We are sending our prayers.
From Valley Health Team Billing Department.
February 28, 2017
Regina I am so sorry for your loss. I think of you and your beautiful children often. My condolences to you and your family. May God wrap you all in the comfort of His loving arms and help you through this sad time.
February 27, 2017
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February 27, 2017
On behalf of Holy Spirit Catholic Church Family I would like to express our sadness at the passing of Justin. We have spent many months praying for Justin at Masses and calling on the Holy Spirit to bring to him healing.
Now he has found total healing in the hands of God and he has found the light the never ends. Our prayers are now for his wife and children, his parents, past students and friends. God's blessings!
Msgr. Patrick McCormick
February 27, 2017
Ken and I send much love and many hugs to Dr. Garza and Josie and to Justin's wife and children. We hope comfort finds you in your memories and in your family. You are in our prayers.
Liberty Blair
February 27, 2017
Thank you for leaving your footprint on my life and heart. You will be missed by me and all of the Central boys. Thank you for your friendship. Praying for your family.
Shimeka Conway
February 27, 2017
Prayers to the Garza family, my grandchildren attend central unified, Justin was a constant part of our conversations as my grandaughter plays in the central high school band during all games.Thank you for all the talks that set the kids straight, you are definitely one of a kind.God bless you and thank you
s Barron
February 26, 2017
Our thoughts and prayers to the Garza family.
Rose Mary & Greg Correa/Villalobos
February 26, 2017
Prayers and condolences to Mrs. Garza and their children! Prayers to Mr. Garza's parents and the rest of His family! Mr. Garza was a amazing person and he will be deeply missed. He was my science teacher in High school back in either my sophomore or junior year of 01. An of all the classes I could BARELY sit through and pay attention, Mr. Garza pulled me in, got me focused and really into his class. He just had that ability to reach his students and touch our hearts in the long run! RIP Mr. Garza.. Your legacy to Be Greater will live on through Everyone you touched!
Jemileh Hopkins
February 26, 2017
Justin, I will miss you more than words can say. I wish I could have had the ability for my bone marrow to match yours. You were always unselfish in your willingness to teach me about football concepts when few others responded to your offers to learn from you at the elementary level. I wish you peace after your brave fight. I wish your family peace as they move forward after your absence. Finally I wish you eternal joy as you are accepted into the loving arms of God.
Joseph Lucido
February 25, 2017
To the Garza family... our deepest condolences to the family. We are part of the Central family. We were rooting for you Justin while battling your horrible disease and all while on the football field. My daughter and I had the pleasure of meeting your Mother at Catholic professional breakfast a few years back, and told your mom you were in our daily prayers.... and you will continue to be in our daily prayers. Please take comfort knowing that Justin is now rejoicing in the kingdom of heaven. No more medication no more pain just peace. God is with you in all you do... Genesis 21:22
The Torres Family
Jose, Rebekah, Alessandra, Jason
Rebekah Torres
February 25, 2017
My prayers & hugs to the wonderful people that gave birth to, loved, nurtured, encouraged and inspired this man to become such an incredible person who touched and enriched so many lives. The world is a poorer place without him.
MaryLou Sisler
February 25, 2017
His legacy lives in all that knew him and his impact will never be forgotten. Many condolences for your loss.
Scott Pickle
February 25, 2017
Love and prayers from the Prentice family. Sorrowfully, we know the grief of losing a husband and daddy. May God be with you and help you through this. ❤ Lean on those who love you....
Renae Prentice
February 25, 2017
Your spirit and legacy will live on threw your family and especially your kids...See ya when we meet again Love you cousin Justin..
Rip Coach Garza
Salina Garza
February 25, 2017
Rest In Paradise !
Priscilla Calderon
February 25, 2017
Our condolences to the Garza family. Coach Garza was an amazing person. RIP Coach. Prayers to the family.
The Westendarps
February 25, 2017
my deepest condolences. Magda Silva, Be The Match, Oregon and Washington
Magda Silva
February 25, 2017
Regina - I'm so sorry for your loss! I will keep you and the kids in my thoughts and prayers.
April Alford
February 25, 2017
Thank you for everything you've taught me and much more. You made me who I am on that field and off the field. It seems like yesterday when we were just practicing. I remember the time we actually got to go out and bond with Coach Hetherington to go train with my speed with a professional football player. The things you did for the team and sacrifices you made will never be forgotten. You lived a legacy and impacted so many lives. I will forever carry the traits you taught us from being "DURTE". When I become a good of a coach as you, I will be sure to be pointing up to you thanking you every single time. My hopes and dreams were always to keep in touch with you so I could follow your footsteps. But I am thankful I got to experience the ride with you and observe the way to handle everything. I will carry my craft along with yours and put them together to make a difference for the future. Thank you so much everything. Rest In Peace Coach Garza. I'm going to make you proud one day!
Andy Phimmavong
February 25, 2017
I'm very sorry for your loss Regina. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.
Amy Campbell
February 25, 2017
RIP Justin. May your light continue to shine in your children, friends and family.
Nicole Saviez
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