Joseph Manuel Garcia of Ossining, New York, passed away on August 16th, 2021 at the age of 83. He was born on June 19, 1938 in New York City to Jose and Vicenta Garcia-Mazas and was the eldest of five children.
A year after Joe’s birth the family moved to Valencia, Spain where his two sisters Marie and Isabel were born. In 1944 the growing family moved to Havana, Cuba where they lived until moving back to New York in 1947. His two brothers, Vincent and Richard, were born in NY. Joe was raised in the Bronx, Bayside and Floral Park, NY. He graduated with honors from Chaminade High School in 1956. After High School, Joe went on to study at NYU earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering.
After working as an engineer for a short while, he decided he wanted to study architecture. He received a master’s degree from Yale School of Architecture. He also received a Fulbright scholarship to study architecture in Mexico.
Joe met Diana Pirrone at NYU through his sister Marie. He and Diana were married in 1964. They lived in Stamford, CT and had their daughter Elisa and son Robert. They then moved to New Rochelle to live with Diana’s parents in order to save up to buy their own house which they did in 1974 in Pelham, NY. They divorced in 1981 but remained friends and continued to be together for many holiday and family gatherings.
Joe was always a committed father and grandfather, being very generous with his time and resources. Family was a very important part of his life.
Aside from being a very talented, accomplished and inspired architect, he was a musician. He played the bass with some local musicians. Joe’s love for music was also expressed through his collection of over seven thousand 78 rpm records of jazz and pop from the 1920s and 1930s. This was the music he loved and constantly listened to. His son Rob became a professional musician/drummer. For a period of a few years in the early 1990s, they played together every Monday night at The Cajun, a traditional jazz venue in Manhattan.
Another hobby was photography. He constantly took photos and always adapted to the constantly changing technology in photography. In the 1970s, he had a home dark room and an array of lenses to choose from. In the 1990s he had a digital camera and for the past several years, he took many great photos with his iPhone.
Joe also loved road trips. With his family in 1980, he drove across Europe visiting several countries and family members. In 1982 he traveled with his son and girlfriend across the United States visiting the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Park, Chicago, Niagara Falls and many places in between.
In 1980, he designed a modern glass atrium called Chemcourt for the Chemical Bank building at 277 Park Ave, New York City which was completed in 1982. He worked hard as an architect and was praised for his talent and skill as a great “design architect”. He had lasting working relationships with his good friend Darius Toraby, John Karhu and the Ginsburg Development Companies.
In 2005, he bought land in Stormville, NY, designed and built his masterpiece. A stunning architectural gem incorporating his love of classic architecture trends yet completely fitting for the 21st century. He lived in this mansion for a short time, but realized it wasn’t fit for a single man and sold it.
For the past 13 years, he partnered with Gaye Fontoura. They shared many things in common including a passion for music and vintage films.
Joseph is survived by his domestic partner Gaye Fontoura of Ossining, NY; sisters Marie Giverin of Fountainbleau, France and Isabel Torres-Ullauri of New York, NY; brother Richard Garcia of Kirkkonummi, Finland; his daughter and son in-law Elisa and George Bates of Ocean, NJ; his son and daughter in-law, Robert Garcia and Lora Dibner-Garcia and grandchildren Ruby and Felix Garcia of Brooklyn, NY. He will be missed by all who knew him.
A celebration of Joe’s life will take place at the Pelham Funeral Home located at 64 Lincoln Avenue, Pelham, New York on Thursday, August 19th from 4-8PM. A Mass of Christian burial will take place at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church located at 280 Washington Ave, New Rochelle, NY on Friday August 20th at 10:00 am. Interment will follow at The Cemetery of the Holy Rood at 111 Old Country Rd, Westbury, NY.