AUSTIN, Texas - The memorial of former Austin Mayor Gustavo (Gus) Garcia wasn't a somber one it was a celebration of his life. Garcia was first elected into office in 2001 as the first Mexican American mayor in Austin.
Garcia passed away in mid-December in his home, at the age of 84.
Saturday, the chambers in City Hall were filled with city leaders, colleagues, family and friends all people he's touched along the way. Mayor Steve Adler described Garcia as a father.
“He had the ability to be respectful and be able to pull everyone together in almost every and any situation," Mayor Adler said. "I do not know an elected official that was more loved in this community than mayor Gus Garcia."
Garcia was known as a mentor and a staunch advocate for education. Several schools and programs were named after him including the Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy.
He was the first Hispanic to serve on the Austin school board.
Garcia’s grandson Tony said he made education a priority in his family as well.
"I was never greeted with a, ‘Hi Tony how are you? But instead, Tony how is your studies? What is your GPA?” Tony said. "I'm sure at one point my Abuelo has taught each and every person here because more than anything he was a great and influential teacher."
Garcia embraced his Latino roots and helped the city of Austin celebrate La Dia del Grito. During the memorial Music Outreach Volunteer Entertainers performed Cielito Lindo in his honor. The band said he wasn’t much of a dancer but he could sing.
The program ended with The Eyes of Texas led by Garcia’s grandson Araon Garcia.