The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Friends: Reporter's lust for life his legacy

 

August 14, 2018

Courtesy photo: Veronica Montano

Thomas Garcia will be remembered for his sense of humor, like the time he gave a co-worker an award for Worst Note Taker in History.

TUCUMCARI — He was always joking. He had the kindest heart. He was a legend around Quay County.

The tributes to Thomas Garcia could fill a newspaper.

The longtime senior writer for the Quay County Sun died Saturday afternoon following a brief illness. His legacy, according to dozens of friends, will be his sense of humor, dedication to community, and friendly disposition.

"He took his job seriously. But he was the office joker, no doubt," said Veronica Montano, a co-worker who's known Garcia her entire life.

He claimed the newspaper office was haunted, even hiding a bluetooth speaker once to scare an office mate.

He joked that he worked with "old hens" and delighted in wearing Green Bay Packers gear to offset their Dallas Cowboys T-shirts.

When co-worker Miranda Archuleta gave Garcia a two-day-old message, Garcia gave her an award.

"He went and found some paper and made up a certificate and then had it framed - Worst Note Taker in History, or something like that. Then he presented it to her," Montano said.

That sense of humor was there even in difficult times.

"He came back from lunch one day and he was really annoyed," Montano said. "He was like, 'My kitties ate my bread. It looked like a murder scene of the Pillsbury Doughboy.'"

Garcia started working for the Quay County Sun in July 2006. Chelle Delaney, the managing editor at the time, said Garcia arrived with no experience but he was eager to learn and always fun to be around.

"When you'd walk into the QCS newsroom, Thomas always had a great smile," Delaney said.

"Needless to say, he viewed and shared the world with a warm and engaging sense of humor that was contagious."

Quay County Clerk Ellen White said she got to know him when he began writing about her children playing sports a decade ago. They quickly became friends.

"My little twin (granddaughters) graduated from kindergarten this past year and of course Thomas had ringside seats (at the ceremony.) The next morning, my email was full of pictures he'd taken for me. He just went above and beyond."

White said Garcia was "a huge advocate" for transparency in city and county government and "he always wanted facts."

"He was kind of my right arm for elections," she said. "He and I would sit and proofread ballots before I submitted them to the paper."

Quay County commissioners on Monday morning stopped their meeting for a moment of silence in Garcia's honor.

But not many who knew Big T will think back and think about moments of silence. His lust for life will be his legacy, his friends said.

"The one thing that makes me smile today is wishing I could hear Thomas Garcia describing his entrance into heaven. Man, don't you know that's a colorful story," White wrote on her Facebook page Sunday.

"I can hear him now: 'I came sliding down a banister and landed right at the feet of Jesus and he chest bumped me and yelled "GO PACK GO!!'"

A rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. Friday at St. Anne's Catholic Church in Tucumcari. Services will be 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Anne's with the burial to follow in Logan. A reception will follow at the American Legion Post in Logan.

Garcia was 38.

 

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