Family, friends remember loyal parishioner, quiet man

Arthur Garcia, 62, who was struck by a car and killed early

A devoted churchgoer, Arthur Garcia, 62, started the day
Thursday with his before-dawn ritual of opening up La Luz Del Mundo
church on Eigleberry Street. After grabbing a cup of coffee at the
train station, another daily ritual, he was struck and killed on
his way to the doctor.
A devoted churchgoer, Arthur Garcia, 62, started the day Thursday with his before-dawn ritual of opening up La Luz Del Mundo church on Eigleberry Street. After grabbing a cup of coffee at the train station, another daily ritual, he was struck and killed on his way to the doctor.

Garcia was hit by a blue 2007 Nissan Versa two-door and killed at the southern end of downtown at 6:10 a.m. Thursday, police said. Gilroy Police Sgt. Jim Gillio said no one had been arrested in connection with the accident, which occurred at Eighth and Monterey streets.

For more than 20 years, Garcia began his day at 3:30 a.m. with a short walk from his Ninth Street home to open the doors of La Luz to parishioners.

“He was a simple man,” said Stan Garcia, 60, of his deceased brother.

Raised in Gilroy, Arthur Garcia lived in his hometown almost his whole life. His one son, Arthur Jr., lives in Indio and his six brothers and sisters are scattered about the state, Stan Garcia said. Nicknamed “Monster” by his friends – an epithet of which his brother didn’t know the origin – Arthur Garcia “was just a good person, really easy going,” Stan Garcia said.

The last time he saw his brother was at a September family reunion, Stan Garcia said.

“We talked like brothers do,” he said. “He was in high spirits.”

In Gilroy, Garcia kept to himself, but his fellow parishioners knew how dedicated he was to his faith, said Frank Avelar, 23, a friend of Garcia’s. The two had known each other for 15 years through the church, which Avelar’s parents helped bring to Gilroy in 1979.

“We pray together,” Avelar said. “It didn’t hit me until the next day when Arturo wasn’t there at church.”

In August, Garcia and Avelar made what turned into a three-day pilgrimage to Guadalajara to participate in their church’s annual Last Supper ritual celebrating Jesus’ final meal with his disciples. A generous man, Garcia loaned Avelar the money to make the trip.

“That he offered to pay was a big blessing,” Avelar said. “I am very grateful to him.”

At this time, while the investigation is still ongoing, police have not determined whether charges will be filed against the driver – who police would not name – Gillio said. There is the potential for criminal charges up to and including vehicular manslaughter, he said. Police do not believe the crash was alcohol-related.

Witnesses and police said the Versa was traveling eastbound on Eighth Street and made a left-hand turn onto Monterey Street when it crashed into a post, a road sign, a concrete landscaping wall and Garcia.

After the accident, both the driver and Garcia were taken to Bay Area hospitals. Garcia died from his wounds there. The driver had non-life threatening injuries.

Services have not yet been scheduled for Garcia.

Leave your comments