January 6, 1931 – September 4, 2020
Altagracia “Alta” Garcia Cavazos January 6, 1931 – September 4, 2020 Alta passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her children. She was born to Jose and Natividad Garcia in Rancho El Pastor, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. She married Francisco Cavazos in 1954 and together they had four children: Mary (Jose Reyna), Blanca, Marta (Blas Hernandez) and Francisco II, all of Bakersfield. Alta loved her family more than anything in this world. She was lovingly called Nana by all of them. Alta was a brave, generous and spirited woman with a great sense of humor and a ready smile. She was known for her singing, gardening and yard sales. She never met a stranger and would speak to anyone regardless of whether they spoke the same language. No one left her home without being served a meal or taking food with them. Alta was so compassionate that strangers would share with her their sorrows. The family teased that she held confession at her yard sales. Also mourning her loss are her grandchildren Caleb (Lauren), Justin, Melody, Genevieve and Francisco III, and great grandchildren Madeline and Shane. She is survived by her siblings Rosario Pulido and Pedro Garcia. Alta is now in the company of her husband; parents; siblings Antonio Garcia, Francisco Garcia, Jose Garcia II, Felicitas Reyna; and her first grandson, Jacquez “Jake” Cavazos. The family is immeasurably grateful to Marta for her loving oversight of Alta’s health care, our Aunt Carmen Alvarado for serving as her companion, her caregivers Rebecca Hernandez and Rosa Martinez, and the invaluable services of Hoffman Hospice. Graveside services will be officiated by Pastor Mark McGinty at Hillcrest Memorial Park on September 19, 2020 at 9 a.m. Masks and Social Distancing are required. Pallbearers are: Caleb Cavazos, Justin Cavazos, Blas Hernandez, Bill Shoenhair, Ramon Hendrix and Thomas Person. Alta and Francisco met while she was tending her father’s store in Rancho El Pastor. The strict rules of the day prevented them from talking openly, so they quickly agreed they would exchange letters by leaving them under a specific rock. This is how they communicated outside of her father’s watchful eye. Their love blossomed through these letters and Francisco’s frequent visits to the store. After marrying, they moved to Monterrey, N.L., where Mary was born a year later. They bought land and built a house in Congregación Calles (aka El Blanquillo). When Francisco’s mother died and the large family began squabbling over the inheritance, Francisco, a quiet man who hated conflict, decided it was time to look for a better life in the United States. Alta and Mary stayed in Congregación Calles while Francisco and his two brothers-in-law, Antonio and Francisco Garcia, traveled and worked throughout the United States. Eventually, they settled in Arvin, California where Francisco found stable work with Giumarra Farms. Alta continued to manage her father’s store as she cared for Mary and again communicated with Francisco through letters. Francisco traveled back and forth from Arvin to Congregación Calles frequently to visit Alta and Mary. When Blanca was born, Francisco decided it was time to have his family join him in Arvin. With the assistance of Giumarra Farms, Francisco brought his family to Arvin in 1961. Alta bravely left behind her father’s store and her family and friends to join her husband in a land that was unfamiliar. She established a new home with the children, but because she did not speak English, her interactions with neighbors were limited. Marta and Francisco Jr were born a few years later and Alta stayed home with the children until they started school. She then learned to drive and joined Francisco in the workforce. They lived and worked on various farms in the Arvin/Lamont area. In the 1970’s, they bought a home and settled in Lamont. In everything they did, Alta and Francisco supported the dreams and education of their children while passing on their optimism, sense of humor and strong work ethic. As their children neared graduation from high school, Francisco and Alta clearly communicated to them that they had three choices: go to college, work or both. Being idle was not a choice. As their children became young adults, they moved the family to Bakersfield where eventually, both Alta and Francisco retired and were happy to spend their time working on their property and more importantly, helping raise grandchildren who knew them as “Nana” and Papá” For Nana, the grandchildren were second to none and she made it clear to Francisco and the children that they had lost their reign in her kingdom. She spoiled the grandchildren without restraint. After Francisco passed in 1996, Alta lived sporadically with her children but ultimately, she preferred to live independently on her own. She was a life-long learner who enrolled in English as a Second Language classes when she was in her early 80s. Alta also loved holding yard sales. She enjoyed them as much for the opportunity to meet and talk to people as for the money she earned. She had a large network of diverse friends whose company she enjoyed. Alta’s love of people, frankness and sense of humor endeared her to many. She loved being outdoors working in her garden. Even when her health began to fail, she wanted to go to the mall or the park or to just sit in her front yard. Family continued to be the center of her life and she brightened up every time she talked or visited with them. Alta was a courageous, strong and independent woman who dedicated herself to ensuring her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren had the opportunity for a better life, for which she and Francisco sacrificed so many years ago. Altagracia Garcia Cavazos will be greatly missed but her legacy lives on in those she loved.
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