Obituaries » Mary "Louise" Barricks (Garcia)
November 12, 1914 - April 26, 2017
Service Date: May 5, 2017
Funeral Location Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Mary Louise Garcia Barricks
November 12, 1914 – April 26, 2017
It is impossible to condense down a life well-lived for 102 years. Mom’s life has so many different chapters to it, but they are all full of adventure, full of love, full of hard work, full of service. Born Mary Louise Garcia on November 12, 1914, in Clifton, Arizona, to Leonard (Mexican descent) and Julia Garcia (German descent), she was the youngest of five children. Like herself, the three older sisters (Margaret, Josephine and Isabel) were named after queens of Spain, and her brother, Alfonso, sat in the very protective middle of the four sisters. They moved from the small town of Clifton to another small town in the middle of the copper mining section of Arizona. Her father established himself as a successful business man as he opened several furniture stores around Arizona. All 5 children would eventually be successful business people in their own right. Her father promoted education for his daughters in a time when women were more silent than heard. He also became a strong political figure in support of Mexican people. Mom spent time at school, after school jobs, and helping her Mom. As a teenager during the depression, she remembered fondly stoking up the fire in their home, then climbing into bed with her Mom to keep warm and to read alongside her. Thus began her love of reading. She would reminisce about her Mother sitting outside their home, making tortillas over an outdoor oven to sell or give away to those really suffering. During those formative years, Mom learned from her Father, the importance of standing up for what she believed was right, accepting all people regardless of nationality, and from her Mom, her deep faith and giving to others in need.
The next chapter began when she went to work at Andy’s Meat Market in Miami, AZ after high school. One day, in walked a young blond man with blue eyes named Bill (William) who was definitely taken by her. This Southern Baptist young man from Virginia and the deeply Catholic young Mexican girl, married on August 12, 1935. The wedding took place in Yuma, Arizona, at Immaculate Conception Church, as her mother had to come up from Mexico where she was taking experimental cancer treatment. They returned to the small Arizona town of Superior and her father set them up in the furniture business. Those were good years for them as they made life-long friends in this small town, attended the Friday night high school football games, and enjoyed working together. Both wanting a family, they found themselves unable to conceive. It was a trying time, but Mom’s faith never faltered, and the right doctor came into their lives.
Their first child, Elaine, was born in 1940, followed soon by Sandy, in 1941.
With the war, many changes were happening in our nation and world, and Mom and Dad knew they needed to move to Los Angeles to be in a larger employment pool. Dad wasn’t eligible for the Armed Forces due to bad hips that had been damaged as a young man, when a potato truck dumped its load on him as he followed on his motorcycle. So Dad worked at a tire factory, and at a gas station, and Mom worked as a waitress and any odd jobs to make ends meet. They bought their first home in Los Angeles proper, enrolled the girls in the local Catholic School, and awaited the birth of their 3rd child, Robert, in 1947. He added to their work load, when at age,3 he tripped over a basketball, broke his hip, and was in the hospital for six weeks. When brought home in a full body cast, he was placed in front of the window on the table in the dining room. This would be the first of many times Mom would tend to her son when he came out of some sort of surgery. With Robert’s birth, Dad took “instruction” and entered into the Catholic Church that same year, after 12 years of faithfully supporting Mom in raising the girls Catholic and attending weekly church services.
Another chapter rose on the horizon. Mom and Dad were ready to move out of the city and were seeking some property to have some land. They purchased a small home in the San Fernando Valley, which in those days, were acres and acres of citrus trees. So the family moved and raised chickens, turkeys, pigs, and cows to help supplement the family income, but also to put meat on the table. Sandy and I were registered at the area Catholic School, but with no Catholic high school, Elaine attended public school and pursued her dream of playing sports. It was an idyllic time. We expanded into a larger place on the same property as Jeffrey was born in 1955. Mom and Dad began to drive school buses throughout the rural area. Again, they made many life-long friends in the neighborhood as well as through work. Mom volunteered in the library at the Catholic School thus continuing to share her love of reading.
In 1961, a new opportunity appeared. Dad’s hip struggle was impairing his ability to drive, and he knew he had to find something else. On a Thanksgiving trip with some friends, they drove to Oregon to explore a land development opportunity at what is now called “Christmas Valley.” The land purchase was a possibility, but what intrigued Dad most was the motel they stayed at which included a mercantile store, rentals, and anything you need for livestock. It was “Cowboy Country.” Dad saw a whole new possibility for the family, so he brought us to check it out over Christmas vacation. By May, 1962, we owned a business in a town with a population of 230 — a far cry from the millions in L.A.
Once again, Mom and Dad could work together, be a part of a small community and become community leaders. The two sisters had married by this time, and one followed to Oregon. Robert and Jeff entered the public school system in Lake County – schools with populations way under 100 students. The family immersed themselves in Oregon life. Though the nearest Catholic Church, a mission Church, was 50 miles away, every Sunday we would all drive that 100 miles to make sure we attended Mass. It wasn’t a choice. This is what our faith-filled parents set as a pattern for us. Mom taught religious education (CCD) to young children to make sure the faith was passed on. She was recognized by the Bishop for her hours of service over the years.
Dad’s hips were still causing him problems so he had the first hip replacement in Oregon in the late 1960’s. He had a second one a few months later, and Mom nursed him back to health as well as kept the successful business running. Retirement called them and they sold the business in 1970, and thus, began to slow down a bit. Once retired, both Mom and Dad were daily Mass attendees and faithful Rosary prayers.
Mom wasn’t ready to retire though, and found many, many jobs to occupy her time. Always employable because of her work ethic and her skills, she never lost site of Dad and being with him. She also was a full time Grandma. My brother played all the sports he could in high school, Mom and Dad travelling to every game. They again moved, this time to Klamath Falls to be nearer to doctors, and Mom jumped right into volunteering at the Church. She made banners, Dad was a lector, and Mom, as always, was the “right hand” of the pastor.
Dad passed suddenly in 1978, which was a huge game-changer for Mom. Only 63 years old, she decided to live in Portland with Jeffrey, and quickly found work at Sandy’s Dry Cleaners and Laundry (she had worked throughout her life in this industry) as well as Oregon Tailor, thus using the skill set of being an excellent seamstress. She was never one to be idle.
After a while Mom tired of the rain and wanted to be closer to her two older sisters, so she moved back to L.A. and lived with Elaine. In L.A. she worked for her niece and her husband in a job that had her driving all over Los Angeles, regardless of the traffic. She would go into various Catholic schools, give out fund raiser prizes to students, and then do the deposit. She did this for close to 14 years. When asked how she handled the traffic congestion driving all over L.A., she said she would pray the Rosary and the time would pass.
In 1996, at age 82, after her 2 sisters passed away, she moved back to Portland. She was ready for a change, and she jumped into life as the House Mother for two priests: Robert and his friend Father John. For 15 years she ran the Rectory, kept the two in line, and did all that was involved with the running of a house. But that wasn’t enough as she became the “Grandma” of Holy Family School, visiting and working with Kindergartners and 1st Graders, as well as any other teacher who wanted her support. Of course, she volunteered for any activity that was happening in the Parish, whether it was the School Auction, Altar Society, or Hospitality. She took communion weekly to many of the church’s homebound, some younger than her. If there was a call for help, she was there. A scholarship was established in her name on her 90th birthday to help a 7th Grader with tuition.
In 2011, both Robert and Mom retired from church life and moved out to live closer to Sandy and her husband. Though she missed the active church life, Mom continued to involve herself in the Rosary Makers, who made thousands of rosaries for overseas missions. In 2014, she fell and broke her hip and also had a stroke. This slowed her down considerably, but her desire to serve others never failed, and when she could find a way to help others or friends, she did.
What else can be said of Mary Louise Garcia Barricks? She is described as a woman way ahead of her times. She was unafraid to take on a new challenge for the good of her family. What sums it up best though seems to be: she was a faithful woman of God, loyal to her faith, her family, and her friends, and a servant to whomever was blessed to know her.
Written by Fr. Robert Barricks and family