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Rev. Oscar F. Garza’s Obituary


Well known UMC elder in the Río Grande Conference

Reverend Oscar Francisco Garza, 93, entered into eternal rest and life in San Antonio, TX, May 17, 2011 at 12:05 AM. He was predeceased in death by his spouse Minerva Náñez Garza (4/4/2009), parents Francisco Garza, (April 30, 1974) Caritina Garza, (May 14,1992), his brother Oscar Onésimo Garza (5/14/1991), his sister Maria Cristina Peña (11/14/2007) and her husband Rolando (1/23/1998).

Rev. Oscar F. Garza

He was born Dec 16, 1917, in Rio Grande City, Texas. His parents were Francisco and Caritina (Arrendondo) Garza. He was the oldest in a family of seven children, four boys and three girls, four of which are still living.

Rev. Garza was reared in Mission, Texas, as a catholic, but converted to Methodism, and later entered the ordained ministry. Many times he said that his "call" came in a peculiar way. When fourteen years of age he and ornery friends threw ripe tomatoes at a preaching service tent and then ran away. However, Garza felt bad about it and stayed, listening to the preacher and responded to the altar call. He discussed his calling with his mother and father, who supported him. His mother told him those years earlier, early in her pregnancy, her parents laid their hands upon her belly, and dedicated the baby to the service of God. It came to pass.

Rev. Garza's ministry was carried out within the Río Grande Conference of the United Methodist Church. His mentor, Rev. José Espino, spotted Garza early and tutored him in his ministry. He came to San Antonio to live with Rev. Espino and his wife, Berta. He was a diligent and active student at Brackenridge H.S., playing quarterback on the football team. He graduated in 1939. Earlier he met his wife, Minerva Nañez, at a statewide church youth convention in San Antonio. They married in 1939. He attended college at Texas A & M, but entered the ministry thereafter and was ordained in 1942, at the age of 25. His first assignment was in Wheelock, Texas, living in a small ranch, surrounded by cows, no neighbors, and restrooms at the bottom of a hill. That first assignment was for one year. Other churches under his charge were: "El Buen Pastor" Kingsville, "La Trinidad" Pharr, "El Buen Pastor" Brownsville, "El Buen Samaritano" Albuquerque, NM, "La Trinidad" San Antonio, "Emanuel" Austin, and back to San Antonio. He, together with his wife, Minerva, was well respected and revered at all his pastorates.

After a six years stint as pastor of "El Buen Samaritano" church of Albuquerque, NM, Rev. Garza was appointed superintendent of the Western District with offices in El Paso, TX, which position he held for six years. As Superintendent he worked closely with El Paso's Lydia Patterson Institute's Department of Ministerial Students. In that capacity he provided oversight as they were assigned to different churches. Thereafter, he returned to Texas, to San Antonio's "La Trinidad" congregation. During his eight year tenure at La Trinidad he was responsible for an extensive expansion and modernization of the church's facilities. He loved La Trinidad.

In 1969 he went to pastor his last church, Emanuel United Methodist Church in Austin, Texas. In 1971 he moved back to San Antonio as conference evangelist and then associate minister at La Trinidad. Aside from his responsibilities as pastor, Rev. Garza was known for his involvement in civic, community issues as well as involvement in activities beyond his local church. He participated in the formation of MARCHA, a caucus for Hispanic Methodists in the United Methodist Church. In the late 60s was active in the struggles of farm workers seeking just compensation and living conditions. His zeal for the well-being of fellows consumed him.

In 1974 he retired from active ministry and thus began a new career in the real estate business.  He entered in a partnership with former parishioners and friends, Willie Rodríguez and Tony Escareño. He responsibly guided many local citizens into homes.  Throughout his business ventures, Rev. Garza always remained close to the church with a burning zeal for its ministry.

He and his wife Minerva were avid historians.  Together they collected books, journals, printed articles, pictures, and items of historical value related to the work of the Rio Grande Conference. Their home was a combination of library and living museum.  Towards the end of their lives their historical Methodist treasures and documents were given to the Bridwell Library of Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.   

He is survived by his daughter Guillermina Babich and her husband Mark of Leawood, Kansas, grandson Peter Joseph Grasser I and wife Isabel, of Keller, Texas, great grandchildren Eugenie and Felix; grandson Captain Peter Joseph Grasser II and wife Gayle of Corpus Christi, Texas, grandchildren Christopher, Holly and Garrett; his sisters Olympia Guizar of McAllen, Texas, Olga Palacios of Mission, Texas, brothers Oscar Omar Garza and wife Hortencia of San Antonio, Texas, Oscar Odin Garza and wife Elva of San Antonio, Texas; and sister in law Frances Garza of McAllen, Texas, and numerous nieces and nephews.


el Intérprete Online, mayo-junio, 2011