Manuel Jesus Garcia
January 1, 1932 – July 23, 2014
Dr. Garcia, 82, a resident of Rockledge, Florida, passed away on July 23, 2014 at his home.
Dr. Garcia was born in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba on January 1st, 1932, to Dominador and Estrella Garcia. While still young his family moved to the city of Holguin. There he met a family of American Methodist missionaries who had moved next door and who invited him to attend Sunday service at their church. Because of this Dr. Garcia always liked to point out how he was a product of the missionary system; and this idea of serving in other countries and to the needy, remained an important part of his life.
In 1951 he moved to Havana to begin his studies in medicine at the University of Havana. While attending the University he became a member of the local Methodist Church and eventually joined its church choir. There he met his future wife, Isabel. They were married on May 5, 1957 and soon moved back to Santiago de Cuba to begin his medical practice.
They had three children, David (born in Havana), Carlos and Icel (born in Santiago de Cuba).
For some time Dr. Garcia had grown to believe that his family would have a better chance at personal freedom and prosperity in this country, so in 1971 they left Cuba, arriving first in Madrid, Spain, for a six month stay, and then moving on to the United States and Chicago, where his brother, mother and family resided. That same year he was accepted at Tulane University, New Orleans, where he studied public health, and from which he graduated in May, 1972.
In 1974 Dr. Garcia became Assistant Director at the Brevard County Health Department in Florida, until 1977 when he was made Director. He held the position until his retirement in 1997.
During his tenure as Director he implemented the fluoridation of Titusville’s water supply, thus ensuring coverture for the entire county. In 1980 he received the National Association of Counties Achievement Award for helping design a program to make available volunteer physicians to indigents on a one day per week basis. In 1994 he set up the PATH (Primary Access To Health) Clinic, aimed at treating poor, uninsured patients with no access to medical care.
Among the awards and recognitions received, as well as civic positions held, are the following:
1976- Certificate of Recognition and Appreciation, for outstanding service and support of Brevard County safety efforts by the Board of County Commissioners of Brevard County and Division of Public Safety
1981- Certified Lay Speaker, by the Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
1984- Man of the Year, by the Kiwanis Club of Rockledge
1988-1989- Building Committee Chair, Rockledge United Methodist Church
1990- Layman of the Year, by the Kiwanis Club of Rockledge
1990- Chair, Public Health Committee of the Brevard County Medical Society
1990- Chair, Florida State Employees Campaign in Brevard County
1995- Visionary of the Year, Hope Award, from the Holmes Regional Medical Center as part of the Heroes Awards Program which recognizes the contribution of partners in its community outreach program
1995- Doctor of the Day at the Florida Legislature (Senate) in Tallahassee for April 13th of that year
1995- County Public Health Unit Award, for achieving four of the five lowest infant mortality rates in the State of Florida
1995- Proclamation of Appreciation, WE Program, by the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners
1997- Certificate of Recognition from the City of Rockledge, and Mayor Jack Oates for years of service to the city and Brevard County
1997- Certificate of Recognition from Governor Lawton Chiles for 23 years of service to the State of Florida
1997- Certificate of Recognition from the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners
1997- Certificate of Recognition from the Brevard County School Board
1998- Outstanding Community Leadership Award
2000- Dedication of the Titusville Health Department Building on September 29th, which bears his name
Upon his retirement, Dr. Garcia traveled several times to Honduras with a medical team. There he ministered to poor patients as well as helped in the construction of homes. Otherwise, Dr. Garcia enjoyed his retirement by traveling and enjoying the company of his family.
He is survived by his wife, Isabel; his sons, David and Carlos; and daughter, Icel Milner; four grandchildren, Thomas M. Ashton, Elena Keke, Carlos Andrew Garcia, and Michael Garcia; and two great-grandchildren, Donovan and Daelynn Ashlynn Ashton. He is also survived by a brother, Dominador Garcia; and two nephews, Rene and Jorge Garcia.
There will be a viewing at the Life Event Center at Florida Memorial, located on US1 in Rockledge, on Tuesday, July 29th, from 6-8p.m. A service will be held at his beloved Rockledge United Methodist Church, located at 1935 South Fiske Boulevard in Rockledge, across from Kennedy Middle School, on Wednesday, July 30th at 11:00a.m.
The family would like to request that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to either Rockledge United Methodist Church or to either branch of The Sharing Center of Central Brevard at 113 Aurora Street in Cocoa or 172 E. Merritt Island Causeway in Merritt Island.
- Visitation Tuesday, July 29, 2014
- Funeral Service Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Manuel Jesus Garcia
have a memory or condolence to add?ADD A MEMORY
receive updates when new memories are postedRECEIVE UPDATES
Joseph M. Clark
July 27, 2014
"Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his and the souls of all the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen."
Dr. Garcia was my oldest and dearest high school friend (David)'s father. I have many fond memories of him. My deepest sympathy and prayers go to his family and loved ones.
I will never forget how back in 1974-75 when I needed a physical in order to play high school sports and my family could not afford one, Dr. Garcia saw me at his office, after hours, and gave me one for free!
Rest in Peace, Dr. Garcia.
July 26, 2014
Manolo was a great friend for many years. A kind and generous man, he was a model citizen wherever he went. Met him at the Hogar Evangelico, a Methodist boarding center for university students in Havana, Cuba, more than 50 years ago, when we were both young. Saw him a few times while he was still healthy at reunions of Hogar former residents. RIP, dear friend.
– Carlos Verdecia, Miami, Florida.
FROM THE FAMILY
IN THE CARE OF