So long, Carmen
Carmen Michele Garcia died on Saturday, October 3, 2015, after bravely fighting an excruciating battle against pancreatic cancer. She kept her sense of humor right to the end. She was 48.
Carmen was born in Vinita, Oklahoma, on July 29, 1967, to Benigno Diaz and Martha Measner. She spent her youth in Oklahoma, attending her senior year of high school in Grove, Oklahoma. She left Oklahoma at her earliest opportunity, moving to Reno in 1986.
From 1987-2003, Carmen put herself through college working in the service industry as a cocktail waitress and bartender at places including Eddie’s Fabulous 50s, Paul Revere’s Kicks, and Doc Holliday’s. According to her resume, her jobs included “Standard bartending duties in a gaming environment, including impromptu comedy routines as well as amateur counseling and the operation of an unorthodox and unlicensed confessional.”
At the University of Nevada, Reno, she earned her bachelor’s degree in English in 1999 and her master’s in Secondary Education in 2005.
She began her life’s work at the Davidson Academy, the school for young geniuses at UNR, in 2007. At the time of her death, she was Director of Curriculum & Instruction.
During her time at Davidson Academy, Carmen directly influenced hundreds of the finest minds of a generation. As one Davidson Academy student wrote, “I’m what we call a Carmen Kid—that is, a student who got to know Carmen Garcia through taking her classes, working with her, or just talking to her about anything and everything, who fell in love with her brilliance and who won’t ever forget her or the impact she had. A lot of people here became Carmen Kids, all of us bonding with her in unique and special ways.”
Among her friends and co-workers, she’ll be remembered for her work ethic, pointed wit, brilliant mind and fierce capacity for love.
Throughout her life, Carmen enjoyed reading classic literature like William Faulkner, Eudora Welty and Flannery O’Connor, as well as contemporary writers like Cormac McCarthy and William Kennedy. Her preferred music followed similar themes with Hank Williams Sr., Patsy Cline and Billie Holiday among her favorites. She was also a fan of philosophy of mind philosophers like Ludwig Wittgenstein. She was an amazing cook of rich foods, a fitness buff, and a lover of wine and spirits. She delighted in doing crafts and decorating the spaces she lived in.
Carmen is survived by her husband, Mark Lindquist, stepsons, Logun and Quinn Lindquist; her mother, Martha Liou; sisters, Jo Ann Reed, Mae Zarnitsyn Liou and Lori Baker; and stepfathers, Joe Reed and Long Liou. The legendary Miss Carmen will be sorely missed by many friends and former patrons.
A celebration of Carmen’s life is in the planning stages. Date and time will be announced on her memorial Facebook page at www.facebook.com/carmen.m.garcia2.