Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Sun fixture gone way too soon

 

August 15, 2018



Thomas Garcia could be exasperating, frustrating and aggravating at times, but it was seldom that he was anything but cordial, cheerful and persuasive.

It was easy to tell that Garcia was most in his element when he was among friends, keeping them entertained with a steady stream of stories, wisecracks and come-back lines.

Many of those friends and I, a one-time colleague who learned quickly that supervising Thomas Garcia was akin to herding his famous cats, were shattered to learn Saturday that he had passed away.

He’d been ill in recent days but his death was a shock to us all.

For a dozen years, Garcia, usually alone, held the journalistic fort at the Quay County Sun. Others, including me, came and went, but Garcia was a fixture.

Journalism was something he stumbled into after he had served as a police dispatcher — one of those people who have to remain calm, collected, systematic and informative to police, fire and emergency medical crews even as all hell breaks loose.

That’s great experience for a journalist.

That was a talent I saw several times when I overheard him giving advice to friends. He would explain everything patiently, step-by-step and with unshakable confidence.

Garcia’s passions as a journalist were sports and crime.

He knew the games, especially football.

He could return from a game knowing instantly where the key plays were and who made them, what strategy was in play at any point in the game, and reactions from winning and losing coaches — and with photos, quite often taken at the climactic moment of the game.

I have never been an avid sports fan, and usually I couldn’t tell you who carried on that last play or who made the tackle or on what yard line.

Garcia kept that stuff in his head. I had to write it down, juggle the camera and miss the next key play while I fumbled around with paper and equipment.

Garcia’s crime reporting was thorough and informed on procedure, jail or bail, and what came next, even if it sometimes read like a police blotter.

He was also our building manager. He knew who to call and when the grass needed mowing. He was usually the first to grab a mop if a pipe or the roof leaked, and he kept track of key supplies.

He was a hefty guy and was locked in a constant struggle to control it.

He was having back trouble in recent weeks.

I talked to him Friday when I picked up the office camera to cover a couple of events that pain kept Garcia from handling.

We talked about how painful a sciatic nerve disorder can be. He told me he thought it might be getting worse after some of the exercises usually prescribed to lessen the pain.

As I left the office I told him to make sure his back got better.

The next day I learned that he had passed on at the age of 38, just a few years older than half my own age.

Thomas, you left us too soon. Way too soon.

Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at:

stevenmhansen

@plateautel.net

 

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