Myrna Garza Obituary - Bakersfield, California | Greenlawn Funeral Home Southwest

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Obituary for Myrna Elsa Garza

Myrna Garza, a devoted mother, grandmother, and faithful believer in God, passed away at the age of 87 on December 1, 2023. Her journey on this earth was marked by love, resilience, and unwavering support for her family and community.

Born in Coleman, Texas in 1936, Myrna’s parents, Sarah Castro and Refugio Garza, began their family while living on the Garza ranch before relocating to California in 1939. Myrna spoke of how her family used gas rations to make the trip. They traveled as far as they could, then waited to get more rations from family members who would send them from Texas. She said she couldn’t wait to get to California because she was told the streets were paved with gold. In her mind, she was headed for the Gold Rush!

Before settling in Bakersfield, Myrna and her family traveled throughout California and earned money working as migrant farmworkers. She and her siblings, Renee Garza, Nelida Bolstad, Martin Garza, Dorris Garza, and Reymundo Garza, all worked relentlessly for the greater good of the family. Myrna’s work ethic was astounding and eventually led to future employment as a chauffeur for a Dr. McKnew and his wife, a laundromat attendant, a Community Contact Aide for Bakersfield City Schools, and eventually an account clerk for the Kern County Tax Collector’s Office where she retired after nearly 20 years of service.

Her service to others was reflected at every turn of her life and career. She made sure to take care of her siblings, whether they were older or younger than her. She stood up to adversity whether it was being discriminated against for speaking Spanish, for being Mexican, or for being a divorced woman looking for support in the church. She used her voice and whatever resources she had to make sure others felt welcome and safe. As a Community Contact Aide at Jefferson Elementary School, she began a Traditional Mexican Dance group which included children, age 5 – 18 years old. Relying on her bilingual skills that she was previously disciplined for using as a child, she became a point person for immigrant families and taught other Spanish speaking parents how to be involved in their children’s education. Creating a space for community by directing a folkloric dance group was monumental in Bakersfield and critical in the lives of all the children and families involved. Myrna loved music and dance. It brought her great joy to see children dancing in traditional costumes with pride in themselves and their Mexican heritage.

Myrna was not raised in the church but found her love for God at the young age of 19, when she battled tuberculosis and was admitted to a sanitarium in Kingsburg, CA. In the three years she was quarantined there, she found herself curious about God and decided to read the bible. This was a bold move for her, given her grandfather was a great critic of organized religion.


Myrna told a story about how one day as she sat on her bed reading the bible, she felt a breeze and saw the curtains in her room sway. She thought nothing of it and went on reading her bible. Shortly after, a nurse walked in to check on her and Myrna asked her to close the window. The nurse responded, "The window isn't open, Myrna." Myrna said, "Yes, it is, I could smell the roses outside.” The nurse said, "There aren't any roses. There is just snow everywhere." Some weeks later, Myrna felt blessed because she read a scripture sharing the Virgin Mary's words, "You will know my presence by the smell of a rose.”

Myrna’s unwavering faith provided solace and strength during challenging times for herself and others. She later became involved in the Catholic church’s Cursillo movement and lived her Cursillo weekend. The Cursillo community was a family of brothers and sisters in faith who she enjoyed very much and always spoke of fondly. They traveled throughout the state to organize and help others live their Cursillo weekend also. For over twenty years, she shared testimony, organized meetings, prepped meals and attended prayer meetings for the love of God.

Myrna was a pillar of support for her family, providing endless love and guidance for her children Cynthia Reyes, Paul Reyes, Raul Reyes, and Roxana Reyes. She was both jovial and sincere. She welcomed her children in marriage, whom she referred to as her daughters-in-love, Justine Reyes and Veronica Moser Reyes, and her son-in-love, Clemente Jiménez.

In addition to her role as a loving mother, Myrna cherished her role as a grandmother. Her grandchildren were a source of immeasurable joy, and she took great delight in watching them grow, imparting wisdom and creating cherished memories with Joshua Reyes, Justin Reyes, Ryan Reyes, Megan Reyes, Jullian Reyes, Justice Reyes, Marissa Reyes, Easton Reyes, César Reyes Borrego, Trini Reyes, Sofia Reyes Borrego, Maricela Reyes, and her great grandchildren Kodi Reyes, Everleigh Reyes, Cayden Perreira Reyes, Rhylan Reyes, Alexandrea Reyes, Mariana Perreira Reyes, Adelana Perreira Reyes, Alexis Reyes, Madison Reyes, McKenzie Reyes, and Julian Reyes.

As a mother, Myrna exemplified selflessness and resilience, qualities that became even more pronounced when she faced her own battle with cancer. Throughout her journey, she approached each day with grace, maintaining a positive spirit that inspired all those around her. Though she may no longer be with us in body, her spirit will live on in the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to know her.

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