John Baptist Garzia, Sr. age 89 of Orlando, FL, passed away Saturday, May 3rd, at his residence. He was born the third son of Sicilian immigrants, the late Josephine (Magno) and Angelo Garzia, in Detroit, Michigan on June 1, 1924. He had two brothers, the late Samuel and Frank and one sister, Dorothy.
After graduation from high school at the age of 16, John began employment in the auto industry, working on the Chrysler assembly lines and later moved into the finance department. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corp during WWII and became an aircraft mechanic.
In 1946, John met his wonderful wife, Cathy. They were married April 3, 1948 in Detroit, MI and recently celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary. In 1962, John moved the family to New Orleans to work on Chrysler's Saturn Booster program. After five memorable years, John embarked on a new endeavor of running his own business. He bought the Sands Motel in Orlando which became the family's 32 room house for 11 years. Once John sold the motel, Pizza Boy, an Italian restaurant, became his second business adventure. John was a hard-working man, instilling a strong work ethic in all four children. John was a builder both literally and figuratively. With his expertise in construction and woodworking, he built his family home in Fraser, MI and later a retirement home for his in-laws in Royal Oak, MI, as well as working on his parents' cottage in Lexington, MI. He built furniture for the family and kept a woodwork shop at the Sands Motel. Retirement was a quieter time for John as he was diagnosed with MS but stayed active and dealt with his disease with dignity and grace. He loved his family, cars, the warm Florida sun, golf, and a good Western or police show. John was a member of St. Andrew Catholic Church.
John leaves to cherish his memory wife Catherine (Eagle) Garzia of Orlando; one son John (Janet) Garzia, Jr., of Lake Mary; three daughters, Janet Garzia, of Richmond, VA, Jeanne (Ben) Ramsey of Wirtz, VA, Jackie (Jeff) Kinker of Mooresville, NC; ; 7 grandchildren; Todd Ramsey (Bonnie), Lynchburg, VA, Jeremy Kinker, Miami, FL, Mark Garzia (Sara), Newport News, VA, Mary Kate Glime (Chris), Lynchburg, VA, Jillian Kinker, Mooresville, NC, Alex Garzia, Gainesville, FL Jenna Kinker, Mooresville, NC and two great-grandchildren; Adain Garzia and Harker Ramsey. John is also survived by a sister, Dorothy Wheaton of Hazel Park, MI.
A viewing for family and friends will be Wednesday, May 7 from 6-8pm at Dobbs Funeral Home, 430 N. Kirkman Road, Orlando. A funeral Mass will be said at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, 801 N. Hastings Street, Orlando on Thursday, May 8, 10am followed by burial at Winter Garden Cemetery. Charitable contributions may be made in John's name to the Multiple Sclerosis Society, www.nationalmssociety.org