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
Published in Fresno Bee on Feb. 26, 2017.