American Veteran 02

Robert E Garcia

March 13, 1934 ~ January 7, 2022 (age 87)

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Robert Eugene “Bob” Garcia, age 87, passed away January 7, 2022 at his home in Niceville, Florida after a wonderful life and a courageous battle with Parkinson’s and Cancer. 


Bob was born March 13, 1934, in Jacksonville, Florida and graduated from Robert E. Lee High School. After high school, Bob attended Stetson University and later transferred to Tulane University on a Marine Corps NROTC Scholarship. While attending Tulane, Bob met “Fun” Nancy Merritt from Kansas City, and shortly after graduation they married August 1, 1957. Bob and Nancy traveled the world making friends and enjoying 59 years of marriage until Nancy’s passing in 2017. 


After graduation Bob was commissioned as a 2nd Lt in the United States Marine Corps. Bob served his country as part of the US Naval Mission to Haiti, a tour of duty in Vietnam as the Commander of Battery A, 1st Light Anti-Aircraft Missile Battalion, and went on as a key leader the Marine Corps’ transformation into the computer age, retiring as a Colonel of Marines with 29 years of service. After retirement, Bob had a second career with The City of Olathe, Kansas, followed by 10 years with Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in Michigan. Bob retired from EDS in 1995 and shortly after moved to Niceville, Florida. 


In retirement, Bob was an avid volunteer and tireless supporter of many military and civil organizations.  He was selected to join the Institute for Senior Professionals at Northwest Florida State College, actively providing volunteer strategic planning and advisory services to the Okaloosa Walton County area. Bob was a charter member and diligent supporter of Mattie Kelly Arts Center. He welcomed new businesses and members as a Niceville Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce Ambassador.  Bob was a promoter of the Northwest Symphony Orchestra as an active guild member and patron.  


Bob taught a variety of information technology subjects at Northwest Florida State 

College and the University of West Florida FWB Campus in their Continuing Education / Center for Lifelong Learning Programs.  He was always available to his friends and neighbors needing tech advice, generously sharing his expertise whether joining them in front of their computer or at the cocktail table. 


Bob never stopped being a proud United States Marine.  Once a Marine, Always a Marine.  He gathered friends and family yearly to support the local Marine Corps League Birthday Ball.  Whether it was at the American Legion or the Hilton, his patriotism, loyalty and enthusiasm always demanded a great turnout.   

An enthusiastic member of the Marine Corps League Detachment 915 Emerald Coast, Bob also supported veterans through his membership in the Military Officers Association of America and the Northwest Florida Retired Officers Club. 


Bob served on the finance committee at Crosspoint Church in Niceville and served Christ through several small group activities that supported the local community. Bob also enjoyed woodworking, sailing, and spending time with his family. His Crossfit Epically Awesome video, pushing a workout sled at 87 years old, was viewed by millions worldwide and inspired many to “be like Bob.” 


After Nancy’s passing in 2017, Bob was blessed to meet, marry, and share his life with Barbara “Bobbie” Hanson Garcia.  Bob and Bobbie shared a common passion in their faith, love of life, support of local organizations and enjoyment of their wide circle of friends.  Bobbie was a devoted supporter and caregiver throughout their marriage and Bob’s recent illness. 


Bob was preceded in death by his first wife, Nancy, and his parents, Joseph Antonio García, Sr. and Anne Garcia. 


Bob is survived by his wife, Bobbie Hanson Garcia; 2 brothers, Pete Garcia (wife Brenda) and Ramon Garcia (wife Brenda); his 3 kids, Cidni Vaughn (husband Greg), Mark Garcia (wife Barbara) and Randy García (wife Jennifer);

6 grandchildren, Rachel Deshpande (husband Adam), Joelle Campbell (husband Benjamin), Delaney, Daniel (wife Whitney), Dawson and Melody; and 2 great grandchildren, Shiloh and Levi. 


Celebration of Life will be at Crosspoint Church at a later date, and the family requests donations to the Semper Fi Fund in lieu of flowers. 

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