October 24, 1927 – June 9, 2021
Rafaela “Lali” Garcia, 93, of Kansas City, MO passed away Wednesday, June 9, 2021 at her home surrounded by family. Mass of Christian burial will be at 9:30 a.m., Thursday, June 17, at Redemptorist Church, 3333 Broadway, Kansas City, MO. Burial in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Kansas City, KS. Visitation will be Wednesday, June 16, 5:00 p.m. to 6:30p.m. at the church where the rosary will be prayed at 6:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Lali’s name to the Guadalupe Center, Inc., 1015 Avenida Cesar E. Chavez, for a scholarship fund that will be established in her memory. Lali was born October 24, 1927, in Kansas City, KS, where she was raised and lived until she married Jesse Garcia in 1951. The couple moved to Kansas City, MO and were married 54 years before his death in 2005. Lali was a member of Redemptorist Church for more than 60 years. Lali retired as a Supervisor from Artex Mfg./Jostens, Inc. in 1987 after 31 years of service. Retirement gave her the opportunity to focus on her ambition to serve her community by making it a more equal and just environment for all. She has volunteered at the Guadalupe Center, Inc. in various capacities over the last 46 years, including serving on the Board of Directors and three terms as the Board President. Serving at the Center was only the beginning for Lali. She knew that change would not come for the Kansas City Hispanic community until they organized and voted for elected officials who would advocate for them at every level of government. Recognizing this, Lali and her team founded the La Raza Political Club in 1989. Under her leadership, La Raza worked to register new voters for each election, ensuring a seat at the table for the Hispanic community in Kansas City. Lali held the Guadalupe Center and La Raza Political Club close to her heart because she knew they would be there to help her family and her community for generations to come. She also served in a variety of other roles serving her community. To name a few, she was a member of the Union Cultural Mexicana Ladies Auxiliary, a volunteer at Casa Feliz Senior Center, and Board Member for the Ethics, Human Relations, and Citizens Complaints Commission. She was also appointed to the Guadalajara Sister City Commission as well as the Port Authority Board of Commissioners, and she has served on the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast Committee and the Black & Brown Coalition. She was appointed as a Missouri Squire in 2004 and she was also a proud member of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine – Guadalupana Society. Lali was a clear example of what it meant to serve others. It was never about herself, but what she could do for you. Lali is preceded in death by her husband, Jesse; son, Nicholas Garcia I; parents, Alicia and Ramon Reyes, Sr., sisters, Terri Jones, and Josephine Medina; brother Raymond Reyes, Jr., and many other loving relatives and friends. Survivors include daughters, Julia Palmer, and Lisa Aquino (Manuel); 7 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, 6 great-great grandchildren. Lali’s maternal reach stretched out to so many. That could be from her loving arms to a stern look and strong advice if you needed it. She cherished all her titles throughout life: wife, mother, grandmother, friend, mentor, colleague, and the undeniable Queen Bee.
Visitation and Rosary
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Redemtorist Catholic ChurchRosary to be prayed at 6:30p.m.
Mass of Christian Burial
Redemptorist Catholic ChurchBurial to follow at Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Kansas City, Kansas
June 13, 2021
My deepest condolences and prayers go out to Lali's family.
Lali was a vision and a voice for our community. She was a role model and a leader. More importantly, she was an example for women and young girls as to the importance of being respected and recognized as a force in life and politics.
On a personal level, she was one of a small group of women in my life who served as role models for me. Watching Lali, I knew there wasn't anything I couldn't achieve. Thank you, Lali.
She had a voice and it was loud and clear. She could be brutally honest but caring in how things should and could be done. Kansas City political leaders recognized her leadership many times over.
And lastly, how many people are known and recognized by their first name only. She was our Dolores (Huerta) and Sonia (Sotomayor). She was simply "Lali", our "Lali", the Westside's "Lali". Her footprint will be felt for years to come.
My mom and I will miss you deeply. Tears are flowing here but I know there are tears of joy for your welcome in heaven.
Watch out Heaven, Lali is coming to organize
June 13, 2021
Lisa, Manuel, Marissa, great grandkids and extended family,
My prayers are with all of you as you lay your beautiful Lali to rest. Please find comfort in all of the wonderful memories that you have with her over the years. Her infectious smile and incredible community involvement will live on for generations!
Love you all,
Mary Ellen (cha cha) Calderon
June 12, 2021
Lisa so sorry for your lost I will always remember Lali smile and always thinking of others I’m sure my grandparents and dad were waiting for her RIP
Justine Del Muro
June 10, 2021
My heartfelt sorrow goes out to the Garcia family. Lali was my dear friend and mentor over the years, since meeting her in 1993. I enjoyed our lunch dates, sitting on her porch talking about a myriad of things but primarily about the people in her community. I loved making some Mexican dishes for her. The Garcia family is so fortunate to have such a matriarch in their family. Thank you for sharing her with the many people who sought her advice and support. I will miss her, terribly. Justine Del Muro
June 10, 2021
Our condolences to the Garcia family. I never met Mrs. Garcia in person only knew of her accomplishments from a distance. Mrs. Garcia set a good example for us to follow never giving up.
May your memories in the day ahead comfort you.