Lazaro Garcia celebrates 100th birthday

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By Ruth Fort

This past Saturday,  a large crowd of family and friends gathered to help Lazaro Garcia celebrate his 100th birthday at the Mora school cafeteria. His relatives and friends came from all over New Mexico and seven different states to honor Garcia on this momentous occasion. Folks came from as far away as: Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Michigan, Nevada, Wisconsin and Wyoming
Garcia was seated at the far end of the room in a comfortable chair where he stood to greet the many people who came to wish him a happy birthday.

Many different people stood with him to have their pictures taken with this great man.

The cafeteria was decorated with balloons and pictures of his life on the walls.

There was a video screen that also scrolled down with many pictures of him with his family and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

There were copies of the genealogy of his family, which dated back to 1627 which people could take to study. This was prepared by a cousin, Ron Garcia.

After the delicious lunch grandson Philip Garcia, son of Larry Garcia Jr,. took over as master of ceremony. He greeted all of the guests. Then he gave the life story of his grandfather Lazaro Garcia.

He served in many capacities in Mora and in the state. He worked for the New Mexico Bureau of Revenue as manager of the Land Office. He was Democratic Committee Chairman of Mora County for 12 years. He was selected for the Democratic Hall of Fame in 1980. He served on the Mora school board for 18 years He was the delegate for the National Convention when John F. Kennedy was nominated to be president.

Philip Garcia mentioned a lot of the things that have taken place since Lazaro Garcia was born. He told the audience that Garcia and the state of New Mexico share the same birthday, which is an honor. He read greetings from President and Mrs. Obama, Rep. Tom Udall, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan. They all sent their greetings and regrets that they could not be present.

After Philip’s introductions and talk he opened the floor for anyone who wanted to share their experiences with Garcia. Many friends and relatives came forward to tell of their times with Garcia and his deceased wife, Dolores and their family.

When everyone had a chance to speak they brought Garcia to the microphone and he thanked the people for coming and gave a very clear and strong talk.  

After this ceremony was over they took him to a beautiful tall birthday cake, donated by Melvin and Margaret Vigil and their family. Along with much picture taking and clapping from the crowd, he cut the first piece of the cake.

Garcia has five children, four daughters and one son. The daughters are Lala, who is a teacher, Grace, who worked for the Bureau of Land Management, Theresa who worked for the Motor Vehicle Department, Annie, deceased, and son Larry, who worked for the Children, Youth and Families Department and is retired as a master sergeant from the Air National Guard.

Garcia has 13 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren and one great- great-grandchild.

He has had a long and fruitful life and has done so much for his country and county and town. He still reads three or four newspapers each day and keeps up with all that is going on around him. He says that he loves everyone and has many friends. He is happy that he has seen so much in his lifetime and has been a part of it.

Cleanup on Saturday
This Saturday is Mora County Clean up Day. Here’s hoping that all of the communities will come out and clean up the unsightly trash including plastic bags and make our county look clean and beautiful. Be proud of our beautiful valley.

Ruth Fort is a Mora County correspondent. She may  be reached at (575) 387-6523 or ruthfortchacon@yahoo.com.