April 4, 1931 – Jan. 26, 2017
John Manuel Garcia was born in a little house in downtown Los Angeles on April 4, 1931. From then until the age of 6, he lived in San Franciso where he was doted on by his grandmother and aunt, who called him “El Rey de España” (the King of Spain). He never let those “royal” beginnings go to his head, though. He grew into a modest man who had more concern for others than for himself. He was a proud Belmont High School alum and, although he didn’t go to an official college, he always said that he’d graduated from the “University of Hard Knocks.”
John’s working career began at a young age with a shoe shine box and a bag full of Look and Liberty magazines, a stint in a Chinese laundry, and he even spent time behind a soda fountain in a drugstore. The majority of his working years were spent at Menasco in Burbank, an aerospace company that produced aircraft landing gear. He retired as a manufacturing supervisor at the age of 58 in order to enjoy what the retired life had to offer. Part of that enjoyment included travelling with his wife of 39 years, Kathleen. Europe, China, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Egypt, Costa Rica and many more locations were explored by a man who was always eager to see new places and do new things. He also liked to “putter around” in that yard, putting his green thumb to good use. He was very knowledgeable about current events, reading the L.A. Times faithfully every day, and said he wanted to know what was going on, even if he couldn’t do anything about it.
John was a loving, caring, kind and helpful man, always willing to help someone with almost anything. He felt great compassion for the elderly – never feeling or acting as though he were part of that group – and one of his favorite charities was Meals on Wheels. People who knew him say that they will always cherish the wise advice he provided, as well as the “bad time” he gave them, always with a smile that showed he was only teasing.
John is survived by his wife Kathleen, brother-in-law Jim Walter, and many extended family members and friends. His loving kindness and quick smile will be very much missed by everyone who knew him.
Jesus called and John went home to Him.