Saturday, July 9, 2005
Respected Car Dealer Grew Up in Automobile Business
By Lloyd Jojola
Journal Staff Writer
Harry Garcia, founder and long-time manager at Harry's Honda in Albuquerque, was a "gentleman" blessed with business sense who conveyed his integrity to clients.
"He was a leader in the auto business," said his cousin Beatriz Rivera. "He was well regarded and respected."
Garcia died unexpectedly Wednesday. He was 60.
A rosary will be recited Sunday at 7 p.m. at French Mortuary, 1111 University NE. Memorial Mass will be celebrated Monday at 10 a.m. at San Felipe de Neri Church in Old Town.
Garcia opened Harry's Honda with his brother, Julian Garcia, in 1973. He spent his life in the automobile business with his father, Toby Garcia, and his brother initially at Toby's Truck City.
"He was extraordinary," Rivera said. "When he first opened the Honda dealership, they sold more Honda's as an exclusive site, whereas many of the dealers in those days were not exclusive like Harry's was."
Harry's Honda was an overnight success, which was attributed in part to Garcia's business knowledge and way with customers.
"It was not just his business acumen but his ability to communicate with people and his ability to make people feel comfortable and trusting. Because he was a trusting person," Rivera said.
Harry James Garcia was born into a long-time North Valley family. After graduating from Valley High School in 1962, he attended the University of New Mexico and served in the U.S. Army Reserves, his family said.
For a time, he was active in Republican Party politics, and in 1972 he ran for a state House of Representatives seat.
"He was very active working in legislative issues relating to the automobile business, and as a result he got to know many of the legislators quite well, and he was highly regarded among those people," Rivera said.
Garcia was appointed by Gov. Toney Anaya as a member of the New Mexico Racing Commission and served with the new and used car dealers' association for many years.
Outside of work, Garcia was called a "generous, open, caring man."
"And it was reflected in the number of friends that he has, as well as the way in which he really cared for his nephews and their children," Rivera said. "He was very involved with his nephews and his mom. He basically cared for his mother for the last probably 25 years."
Garcia was also an avid fisherman and sports fan.
Garcia left the car business in the mid-1980s and was a real estate investor in later years, Rivera said.
He was preceded in death by his father, Toby Garcia, and brother, Julian Garcia. He is survived by his mother, Annie Garcia. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Sheilah Garcia; nephews Toby and his wife, Ellie, of Albuquerque and their two sons; Garrett and his wife, Allison, of Raleigh/Durham, N.C., and their three daughters; nephews Edward and Carlos of Albuquerque and their sister, Pilar, of Dallas; and numerous other relatives.