Blessed with special moments and memories, the family mourns the loss of Felipe Garcia. The musician, teacher and family historian has died at the age of 72.
He was born on Hill Street in Christiansted, St. Croix, to loving parents, the late Felicita James Garcia and Juan Garcia Velez. At an early age, he learned to play the piano and then moved on to a woodwind instrument, as a clarinetist with the popular Christiansted High School Band. Under the direction of Angelo Marasco, the band played in the 1964 World’s Fair parade held at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, New York. While on tour, the band performed on “The Ed Sullivan Television Show” on May 24.
Not only a performer, Mr. Garcia was also a music teacher at several public schools and with the Young Music Masters on St. Croix. He directed the St. Croix Community Band with music genres of classical, pop and calypso for concerts and parades. As a music advocate, his store offered instruments and equipment for students, vocalists, and other artists. He studied music at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico and New York University, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Nonetheless, he continued to play and write music every day. His mother found solace in listening to him play his favorite piano sonata.
Felipe had one daughter, Felipa Garcia Biamonte; two grandchildren: Julia and Ava Biamonte; and a son-in-law, Jeffrey Biamonte.
He was preceded in death by Joyce Finney, Rafael James, Jose Garcia (Pepe), Innocencio (Chencho) Garcia, and Cena Garcia.
His siblings include: Teresa Garcia Gaskin, Juanita Garcia Roebuck, Juan Antonio Garcia, Julia Garcia Sergent, Kwame Garcia Sr., Felicita Garcia Simpson and Ira Phillips. Garcia is survived by many nieces, nephews, students, cousins and friends too numerous to mention.
His passionate genealogy research connected the family with generations of cousins on the island. Over the years, cousins often visited him for a glimpse of the links to the James, Heyliger, Williams, Martin, Adams and other families. When they were not sure of their family tree, they would take deep root in the new branches. His upbeat tempo lives in the hearts of all who loved this passionate soul. Felipe Garcia was given the gift of life, and now his memories last eternally. In perfect harmony, his life is measured beyond these years.
In accordance with the government mandate on gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, a private burial was held at the Old Danish Cemetery on May 20. A memorial service at Holy Cross Catholic Church will be scheduled at a later time for family and friends to celebrate the life of Felipe Garcia.