Firmo Mike Garcia
June 1, 1921 - October 2, 2020
Firmo Mike Garcia passed away on October 2, 2020. He was born in Hanford, Ca. on June 1, 1921. He was 99 years old. He was one of six kids, three girls and three boys.Mike's parents had emigrated from La Paz, Mexico to escape the turmoil of the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution. He remembers helping his parents pick cotton in Hanford as a boy. They eventually moved to San Diego and lived in an area known as 'El Nido,' which was just north of Logan Heights. His father died in 1930 from pneumonia, and as an eight-year-old kid, our Dad had to help his Mom scrape together an existence during the years of the depression. That meant, being that he was the oldest son, he had to get up early every day to see if he could find leftover fruits and vegetables at the farmer produce markets down on Market St. or find any kind of work, just to make ends meet. The Government helped out with food giveaways.Mike went to school at Emerson Jr. High School and San Diego High school through the 10th grade. In 1938 he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). He worked with the forestry department in Julian, Pine Valley, Cuyamaca, and the Ortega Highway in Orange County, helping to build trails, firebreaks, and fighting fires. He made $30 a month, of which $25 was sent to his Mom.He married our mother, Gloria Labastida, in 1943 and eventually had three boys, Richard, Robert, and Art.He was drafted in 1944 and joined the 32nd Division of the U.S. Army, fighting in the Philippines on the islands of Leyte and Luzon under General McArthur. Mike was awarded two bronze stars for valor and the Combat Infantry Badge. As a squad leader, he attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. At the end of the war, he was sent to Japan for three months as part of the occupation of Japan and returned home in February 1946.Mike worked for 25 years at North Island Naval Air Station as a sheet metal worker. He and Gloria were divorced in 1972, and he married Rita Rodriguez a few years later. They were married for 40 years until her death in 2016.When the casinos arrived in San Diego in the 1970s, that was his real passion in life. He could be found at Sycuan, Barona, or Viejas betting on the 'ponies' and later just playing the slot machines.One thing our father left us with was a love of movies of the '30s and '40s. We were brought up on those black and white movies on early TV. He was a Charter Member of the VFW Don Diego Post, San Diego. In his senior years, our Dad became more involved with going to Bible teaching Church, and reading the Bible.He was a proud member of "The Greatest Generation." We will miss him.Services: El Cajon Mortuary, 684 South Mollison Ave., El Cajon, Monday, October 12. Viewing: 10:00 am -12:00 pm, Service: 12:00 pm, followed by graveside service with Honor Guard, at Greenwood Cemetery, 4300 Imperial Ave, San Diego, 92113, at 1:30 pm.