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It was with great sadness that I received the news of the passing of Russ Garcia, a man who was not only known for his outstanding career in the international music industry, but a man who was also known for his great love and dedication to the Faith.
Both Russ and his lovely wife Gina became Baha’is in 1955. They soon set sail to various parts of the world in order to spread the Baha’i teachings of love and peace, eventually anchoring and settling in New Zealand.
There are so many things I’d like to say about him. He was a man who was loved by everyone who met him. Russ and Gina were an icon in not only the New Zealand Baha’i community, but they were well known and loved throughout the world.
I first met Russ in the early 90’s when I was working on music for the Youth for One World performance group, and Russ offered to do anything he could to help. He offered to let us use his personal recording studio to record some songs for a musical we were working on, and I was just some kid, but we were all welcomed into his home and treated like family. Russ was always smiling, telling jokes, and sharing stories about his amazing life and experiences. He would also tell us how much he loved Gina, and about how beautiful his “young Italian wife” was.
After spending that first weekend with him and Gina, if I ever heard someone say, “Russ wonders if you could…”, I would immediately say “Yes! Absolutely!”, as it was always an honor to be able to do something for him.
The passing of Russ was sad for us all. He was a great and talented man. He was generous, loving and quite simply a shining soul.
I love you Russ, and I’ll see you on the other side.
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