HALTOM CITY — Richard Villa Garcia got a kick out of making people laugh, he loved to help kids find their way, and he was devoted to improving relationships between fellow Hispanics and others in the community, his friends said Tuesday.“He had a different perspective in respect to the Hispanic community, and we needed that perspective,” said Haltom City Mayor Richard Hutchison.Only a few months into his second term as a Haltom City council member, Mr. Garcia died Monday at a Fort Worth hospital of complications of diabetes. He was 67.His re-election in May despite obviously failing health during the campaign spoke volumes about the high regard in which his constituents held him, Hutchison said.“He served with a tremendous amount of integrity and provided a great amount of wisdom to the council,” he said.Born March 12, 1946, in San Angelo to Crecensio Hogeda Sr. and Margarita Garcia, Mr. Garcia graduated from San Angelo Central High School and Angelo State University. His only surviving family is a half-brother, friend Vicki Shad said.A retiree from state government, Mr. Garcia’s greatest contributions to the Haltom City council were “strong opinions and insight into agenda items,” Hutchison said. “He served in the Texas attorney general’s office and brought essential viewpoints to the council, especially where the issues concerned state law.”Friends who gathered Tuesday to arrange a memorial service for Mr. Garcia said he probably would want to be remembered for other things.“His greatest accomplishment was helping other people,” said Ray Robinson, a friend since 1977. “He was always very quiet, but he loved to be with children and help them as a mentor.”There was a part of his life in which Mr. Garcia wasn’t quiet at all, Robinson said.“He was president of the [Moslah] Shrine Drum and Bugle Corps,” he said. “He also was a Shrine clown and was involved in all the Shrine Circuses.” A member of the Suez Temple in San Angelo since 1977, Mr. Garcia associated with Fort Worth’s Shriners in 1985, said Ellen Mitchell, a Moslah Temple spokeswoman.Fellow clown Coy Hart said Mr. Garcia’s Auguste-style clown character won second or third place several times in competitions.“He joined the clown unit about 1987 and was president in 1995,” Hart said. “He was a life member of the Moslah Temple Clowns, and his clown name was Tuty, as in Tuty Fruity.” Robinson said that Mr. Garcia’s personality shone even when he was out of sight.“In 1981 or ’82, he got disk jockey of the year on a radio station in San Angelo,” he said.
Terry Evans, 817-390-7620 Twitter: @fwstevans