Neighbor of the Month – November 2013

Truck and trailer toy work in progress @ his shop

Robert R. Garcia has lived in Elysian Valley alongside his wife Rita for 12 years.  He was born in 1952 and spent his early youth in the neighboring community of Lincoln Heights.   He attended Salesian High School in East Los Angeles and at 18 years old was drafted into the Vietnam War.   He served our Country honorably from 1970-1972 as an E4 Specialist –Airborne Ranger.  Robert endured a six month hospital stay for shrapnel injuries to his legs and back and today too deals with health issues relating to his exposure to “Agent Orange”.   Robert recalls the “brutality” of the war and the “awful” reception he and other soldiers were subjected to by an unsympathetic American public.   This made his adjustment to civilian life difficult.  He describes himself as a “self-made man”-retired from the motion picture industry, where he worked for 20 plus years as a set-dresser.  Robert is most at peace when discussing Rita, ‘the love of [his] life”.  They met at a family function and for him it was love at first sight.   They became husband and wife after a 1 ½ year courtship and have been happily married since.   “We have a good life together and I’m happy.”  “She’s been with me through good and not-so good times and I find it important to let her know daily how special she is and how much I love her.”  Robert is a practicing Catholic who believes in the power of prayer and credits God for giving purpose to his life.   Robert has two hobbies that help him cope with daily life.  He builds wood birdhouses and toys.  He took on these hobbies having had no prior wood working experience and having limited tools.   He describes his work as “good food for the soul and mind” and finds joy in completing what he starts.   Robert hopes that any one reading this is helped and inspired to “carry on and do more”.   He has managed to do so in spite of his physical disability and multiple limitations.  Robert hopes to be remembered for his desire to help others.  He loves Elysian Valley for its “peace and quiet and the many good people that make the community.” The EVNW salutes and thanks Robert for his service to our Country.

Anyone interested in attaining his work can reach him at 323.226.0062 between 10-3 PM.

At Jardin Del Rio Community Garden


  1. What a wonderful story about a fine neighbor and patriot. Thank you for introducing us to Robert. My Robert (Bob Berg) and I would love to meet him in person. Perhaps we could photograph Robert and Rita along with his woodwork for their friends and family to enjoy.

  2. Janet, reach out to Robert at the listed number. I’m sure he would loved meeting you and Bob and will most likely accept your photo invitation.

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