Former City Councilman, Public Works Director Dies at 87

Raymond Patrick "Gabby" Garcia, a Navy veteran and former Newport City Council member and director of public works, died Sunday at the age of 87.

Photo: O'Neill-Hayes Funeral Home
Photo: O'Neill-Hayes Funeral Home
Raymond Patrick Garcia (aka “Gabby”) passed away peacefully on Sunday, July 6. Born on March 28, 1927, Ray was the youngest of 7 children born to Antone and Isabel (Viera) Garcia. He graduated from Rogers High School and Providence College, where he was co-captain of the basketball team. Ray was featured in the 2002 publication, “Providence College Basketball, The Friar Legacy.” More recently, he was inducted into the Newport Athletic Hall of Fame.


Ray served in the United States Navy, the Seabees, and later achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the Naval Reserve. His brother, Anthony, and he started IVG Construction, which they named in honor of their beloved mother. Raymond later served his hometown as Director of Public Works, and was a member of the Newport City Council. Gabby had enjoyed volunteer work, including running the Grocery Booth at the Cluny Fair, spending two days a week at The Thrift Shop on the Naval Base, as well as traveling to Camphill Village in Copake, NY, working with adults with special needs. 


A true New Englander, Ray spent many nights watching the PC Friars, Boston Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics and the New England Patriots. He also had a passion for car races and enjoyed going to Seekonk Speedway and watching Nascar on TV.  


Gabby had been a member of the Wanumetonomy and Newport Country Clubs, and presumably boasted the largest collection of golf balls around. He planted and cared for a huge garden on the Hammersmith estate, and was a past winner of the Newport in Bloom contest for the gardens at his home. Ray loved giving away the fruits of his labor, especially tomatoes, dahlias, and roses. He was also known for distributing candy to his friends at Newport State Airport, as well as the lifeguards and fellow swimmers at the Howard Johnson’s pool.


Ray had many talents and interests, including art and music. He was famous for his hand painted Christmas cards, murals, and earlier in his life, enjoyed singing in the choir at Jesus Savior Church. He was a past member of the chorus at Blenheim and frequently serenaded the wonderful nurses, CNAs, therapists, and housekeepers at Blenheim and Grand Islander. Ray and his lifelong best friend, Bill Duba, were known for breaking out into song just to make people smile.


Gabby was predeceased by all of his siblings, Mary, Isabelle, Adeline, George, Anthony, and John. He is survived by his children, Mary (Cooper), Vicki (Lynch), Michael, Patrick (and his wife, Robyn), Ellen (and her husband, Andy) Casey, Kathy, and Peter (and his wife, Clare). He also leaves 10 grandchildren, 2 great grandsons, and many nieces and nephews.

Visiting hours will be held on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 from 4-7pm in the O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring St., Newport. A Mass of Christian Burial will be Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at Jesus Savior Church, 509 Broadway Newport at 10am.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the American Parkinsons Disease Association - Rhode Island at PO Box 41659, Providence, RI 02940.

For more information or online condolences please visit www.onhfh.com.


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