Richard Alfonso Garcia, a native of Phoenix passed away on Sunday, May 10, 2020 surrounded by his loving family.
Richard graduated from Camelback High School in 1964, attended University of Arizona, and completed his Juris Doctorate from Stanford University Law School in 1971. He married Marcella Cwynar in 1967, then completed law school, and returned to the state he loved so dearly, Arizona.
Richard was passionate about the Law and dedicated his life and career to serving its residents and communities with integrity, honor and uninhibited commitment and sacrifice. He served the City of Phoenix in many capacities including as a City Prosecutor, Public Defender, and Judge for 22 years. Richard then went on to serve as a City of Mesa Municipal Court Judge until his passing. He was a role model, generously gave time to assist his fellow judges and was well known as patient and fair. Richard was a longstanding member and leader of The Optimist Club serving the youth of our communities and being a volunteer reader. In 2005, he received the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety’s Award for Judicial Commitment to Making Arizona Roads Safer. Richard also contributed to Arizona history when he ran for Arizona Attorney General in the early 1980’s.
Richard fulfilled his role as a family man, father, and grandfather with love, gentleness and a caring heart. He was a free spirit who could light up a room and make everyone he met feel welcomed and loved. He also enjoyed exploring and learning about the many wonders of Arizona and sharing his road trip experiences with everyone through his colorful stories. Richard always enriched our lives with love as a songwriter, dreamer, adventurer, and of course storyteller. Richard loved life… Life, his family and friends loved him right back. Although he has departed this earth, his journey has just begun. God has now taken Richard’s hand, as he resides in peace in the beauty beyond the heavenly gates. He is reunited with loved ones who have passed, and heaven’s angels now connect their spirits with everlasting love. With each day, the sun will rise and fall, the seasons will continue to change, and life’s cycle will continue forever…
We will hold deep in our heart fond memories of the Honorable Richard A. Garcia.
Richard was preceded in death by his parents Alfonso and Lydia. He is survived by his sister Sylvia Knopf (Ken); children Leija M. Counts (Clint) and Richard T. Garcia (Aries); grandchildren Joseph P. Counts, Alexis V. Counts, Savannah E. Counts and Holden T. Garcia; domestic partner Carrie Collins.
A Visitation will be held on Thursday, May 14, 2020 from 11:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. at Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home at 4800 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. In consideration of the CDC recommendations to avoid potential risk of exposure to the COVID 19 virus, there will be a limit of ten (10) people in the chapel at any time. Whitney & Murphy staff will manage this process to ensure everyone can pay their respects safely. A private service will be held for Richard’s immediate family with interment at St. Francis Cemetery in Phoenix. The service will be live streamed online at Whitney & Murphy’s Facebook page at 4:15 P.M. Condolences and Hugs from Home may be expressed at www.whitneymurphyfuneralhome.com
Richard’s Celebration of Life will be scheduled and announced later.
Judge Garcia was a great example to all of us. He understood the law and how to apply it with compassion. He presided with a calm and sensible demeanor which put all parties at ease.
We had many conversations which I sincerely miss. Rest in peace my friend.
I worked with Judge Garcia for over 5 years as his clerk. There was never a dull moment while working with him. I will truly miss working with him. May he rest in peace.
We are very sorry for your loss.
Sending our warmest regards from the UK.
Family Ben Livermore, Giuliana, Chiara & Luca
Our thoughts are with you at this time
Jane and Bryn x
Penny and Barry edwards
So sorry to hear of the loss of your brother Richard. Our thoughts are with you Sylvia and all his family at this very sad time. Fondest memory of meeting Richard on our visit to Arizona. May he rest in peace.
Love Penny & Barry Edwards xx
I am very sorry for your families loss. It was an honor to work with Judge Garcia, he will be sincerely missed.
I am very sad to here of Judge Garcia’s passing. Working with him for many years was a joy. Listening to him tell his stories was priceless and the best. He will be missed on the bench but forever in our hearts. Rest in peace Judge Garcia.
I had the honor and pleasure in working with Judge Garcia for many years in the Photo Enforcement Division.
He was a great mentor of mine and taught me to apply the law with fairness, and compassion.
We had many discussions about the history of Arizona in which he loved.
I will truly miss working with him.
Rest In Peace my Friend!
Richard was rich in heart, mind and soul. He will be missed by many.
Until we meet again…..
Michael K. Carroll
Richard was a colleague and a friend for over 30 years. I am sorry to hear of his passing. I will miss him.
Rest in peace Judge Garcia. My sincerest condolences to the family.
Judge Garcia was an extremely pleasant person to work with. Friendly, fair and always polite to those he came in contact with no matter on which side of the table they sat. I will miss seeing his face in the court. My heart and thoughts go out to his family.
I remember having a few talks with Judge Garcia over the last 6 years at the Mesa Municipal Court. It was always a pleasure to run into him in the hallway. I send his family and friends my sincere condolences during this time. He will be missed.
My friendship with Richard was far too short of time…..nevertheless, it revealed how much he loved and appreciated his family and his legal associations. I’m so sorry for the loss of Richard’s presence in the lives of all who knew and loved him. He will be greatly missed. I send hugs to all.
I was Judge Garcia’s clerk for many years. He had the best stories and always made us laugh. He was so very proud of his grandchildren. We heard many football stories. He had a beautiful voice and I will never forget when he graced our Christmas celebrations with his songs. I will miss hearing him come down the hallway and chatting. My thoughts are with the family and all his friends. Rest in peace, Judge.
The Madrigal Family
It saddens me and my family to hear of Richard’s passing. It was my privilege to work with him for many years at the City of Phoenix Municipal Court Room 13 and 703.
He was a great person and was full of surprises, like when I found out he had a great voice, but never started singing happy birthday first at our work party’s, so many of us sang off key .
Our condolences to his family as they are in our thought and prayers. He will be greatly missed.
Linda, Joe and Debbie
True and Vu Nguyen
To Leija and Clint,
We’re so deeply sorry for your loss. Condolences to your family.
The news broke my heart. I knew Richard since grade school. Carrie I know you are overwhelmed right now. You lost the love of your life. Your new found time was too short. My thoughts are with you, prayers for peace and comfort for you and his family and friends. When you are able please e-mail me. Much Love
Karen McKay Fiori
May you rest in peace beautiful soul. It was an honor to work by your side in courtroom 101 as one of your clerks for many, years. I will truly miss your stories as a child, about your parents, and family and where they came from, jokes, what you had/made for dinner, telling us about your Taco Tuesday with your sister which you loved dearly, which restaurants had the BEST GREEN CHILE anything, your silly arguments with Judge Tafoya, seeing all your Knick knacks on your desk, your walks to our courts “GOURMET” coffee vending machine for your daily dose, I will truly, truly, miss you. Courtroom 101 will never be the same, you touched our hearts (Sarah, Annette, Christina and I) these last years, and we were blessed to walk with you during these hard times. You rest in peace now with our Heavenly Father.
You are all in our thoughts
Tom & Katy Livermore
Rest in peace dear Richard… You will be sorely missed by many. A wonderful man who had great wit and knowledge and the loveliest smile.
Thank you for being un my life.
Laura Estay Lowery
My deepest condolences to the family. I knew Richard for many years as a colleague, fellow judge and friend! He was a friendly, caring person and will surely be missed by all who knew him!
I loved running into Judge Garcia often in the break room and having chats as he got his coffee. He always made me smile with his stories. He will most definitely be missed here at the court. I am very sorry for your loss.
I will truly miss Judge Garcia and his beautiful soul. May he rest in peace. I will miss hearing his infamous TACO TUESDAY and how they had the best tacos ever! I will miss him dearly. My sincerest condolences to his family, my thoughts are with you during this hard time.
Judy Berger Heasley
I was fortunate to be a high school classmate of Richard’s. As a teenager he was funny, intelligent, kind, compassionate and a great friend. I know he held onto those attributes throughout his life. A life well lived.
My condolences to his family.
Judy Berger Heasley
George A. Schade, Jr.
My deepest condolences to the family. Richard was friendly, amiable, and competent. He always had a hearty “hello” and never forgot a name. He enjoyed the Law and being a judge.
Bob and Sue Dorfman
Richard was a long-time colleague and friend whom will be sorely missed. His humor and wit were always welcome.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
On behalf of the Az Dream Team Team members Angie Ayala-Perez Clark and myself Frannie/Cisco Arvallo an honor to have a friendships built around Judge Garcia along with his partner Carrie Collins. These two individuals made it fun when they would attend our softball games no matter where we were playing. They were one of many best supporters. May Judge Garcia RIP and one day those who are worthy of him will see him once again! GOD BLESS to the closest in his heart grandchldren/children/Sister and Angie and Carrie…..
My love and prayers to his family and friends. A wonderful, funny man who will always be remembered by his quick and easy smile.
Extending my deepest sympathies to the family of Judge Garcia. I had the honor of working with him for many years. He was such a joy to work with and truly missed. May he rest in peace.
Whitney & Murphy
Oh, dear Richard. I am so sorry to learn of your passing. You were such a bright soul and brought light to every room you entered. I know you are continuing to shine, on your new adventure.
Love and light to you, and I thank you for the laughs and fun!
Laara van Loben Sels
Sarah J. Thomas
I met Richard while attending Arizona State University . Over the years , we kept in touch with life’s changes . Richard was one you could count on to share snd listen equally . A brilliant law scholar who understood how the law can benefit society and the humans it represents . What a smile , what a laugh ; his infection will live on with me forever . I just learned of his passing – indirectly . It’s a sad day for me . My condolences to the family of Richard .
Dick & I were buddies since we met in high school, back in 1960, & although we only got together every few years, it was always a pleasure. I just heard of his passing from a mutual friend, & it’s quite a shock to realize that we’ll never see each other, in this life.
Our thoughts & prayers are with his family, & he will be greatly missed.
Aloha oe’, my friend,
Ken & Linda Goldstein
Dear Family, I could never say enough nice things about Richard and Sylvia and Leija. Thank You so much for touching my life in so many ways.