Vernon Garcia faced death ten years ago when he suffered a massive heart attack at age 54. Quadruple bypass surgery saved his life. On Sunday morning, another heart attack took him to be with the Heavenly Father. He was remembered and celebrated at a Rosary and wake at Church of The Incarnation.
The obituary in the paper was a beautiful testament to his life:
Our loving husband, daddy, papa and best friend went to be with our dear Heavenly Father on Sunday morning. Vernon remains here in the hearts of many, but especially his mother, Selina Garcia (90) and his most beloved wife Angel. His greatest joys in life were his five children: Christopher Ryan Myrick and wife Eliana and Josh, Christian Mateo Garcia and wife Char’let, Michael O’Conner Myrick and wife Alycia, and Daddy’s baby girls Brittany Anne-Marie Garcia and Veronica Selina Garcia. Papa’s happiest times were playing with his three granddaughters Elizabeth Anne-Marie Garcia Sanders, Emma Rose Garcia Evangel, and Moriah Nicole Myrick, they truly were the apples of his eye.
God came for Vernon ten years ago and Vernon wasn’t ready to go home so he blessed us with the most incredible years a family can have. The friends and family that have touched our lives and made our world complete are too numerous to mention but please know in your hearts how loved you were.
Vernon’s passion was his numerous restaurants including Vernon’s Grille in Dallas, Calico Cafe in Corrales, and Vernon’s Hidden Valley Steaks in Los Rancho de Albuquerque. God blessed his companies not with employees but extended family members, his customers were not patrons but dear friends, and his high morals and standards of life were not private but openly displayed through his warm smile, spiritual wisdom, and loving hand that was always open to whomever God put in his path.
Vernon’s last words to Angel just moments before passing were, “I wish everyone in the world could find and share the love we have.” So as a special gift from Vernon to you, the family would request not donations or sympathy for us; but a peace that you would make with an estranged family member, old friend or anyone that God puts in your path. Let no one cross your path by accident and help our family as we continue on with an open heart and helping hand that Vernon so generously shared.
Vernon was originally from Taos and the family moved to Los Alamos while he was still in grade school. His dad was in the Bataan Death March. He attended the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell for a year and went to college at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.
Leroy Pacheco, a buddy of Vernon’s since the 7th grade, said, “He loved to eat and cook. I’m not sure which he was better at. He always had a little extra flair in his cooking, and his door was always open for sharing food and friendship.”
Everyone rose as the service started at the back of the sanctuary, where two priests in white robes applied holy water to the urn holding Vernon’s ashes. His son Mateo held the urn and carried it to the front of the church. He was accompanied by a young woman carrying a crucifix. The family followed them to the front pews.
One of the priests started with a prayer. “God remembers the good we have done and forgives our sins…. For those who believe in Your love, death is not the end…” He read from the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians which includes the line “We are awake with the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.”
After a responsive reading (The Lord is my life and my salvation, a variation on the 23rd Psalm) and standing to hear the Gospel of Matthew 20:1-16, the priest noted that today (August 22) is the celebration of The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “The whole Catholic world is praying to Mother Mary this day,” he said.
The Rosary was chanted all in English. The line, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death,” seemed especially appropriate today. Not every Rosary service includes a eulogy, but there was one for Vernon after the Rosary.
Joe Barryman, Vernon’s father-in-law, provided the eulogy. Some of the words he used to describe Vernon were idealistic, romantic, eccentric, and intelligent. He loved to play with words (especially gelatinous and accoutrements) and let words roll off his tongue. He had a great skewed sense of humor and found irony in difficult situations.
Vernon was a great cook who loved to watch the Food Network. He’d try out new recipes on the family while they’d be at their cabin in Chama. He loved reading about history. He had a new plan every ten minutes – some worked, like his restaurants, some didn’t, like his idea for a three-wheeled motorcycle. He loved TV and movies and would quote lines from films dating back to the 1930s.
He loved people. He never said a disparaging word about anyone. He always found something interesting and worthy in every person. He was curious and a most giving man.
Vernon helped many people in many ways. The fact that he has employees with decades of loyalty in a business that has one of the highest turnover rates of any industry speaks volumes about the man. He would pay medical bills, post bail, and take people into his home. He helped people in trouble to straighten out their lives, get an education, and better themselves
He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. He loved having his four granddaughters playing with him and climbing all over.
And Vernon continued to help others as an organ donor. His eyes, bones, bone marrow and skin will live on and improve the eyesight and health of the grateful recipients.
“There are people here today because of God’s intervention through Vernon,” said Joe Barryman. “The would would be a better place if there were more people like Vernon Garcia.”
In conclusion, Lonnie Davis did a beautiful a cappella version of “Ave Maria.” The family moved into the church’s social hall for refreshments and to watch a photo montage set to music created by nephew Nick Barryman.
The celebration of Mass is scheduled for the next morning, followed by a reception at Vernon’s Steakhouse. If you have memories or additional comments, please share!