A tribute to our neighbour Jorge

Jorge Garcia was well-known to his neighbours. PHOTO: Contributed

You probably didn’t know this, but our neighbour Jorge Garcia died last month. If you didn’t know Jorge, you probably know someone who did.

That’s because Jorge would say hi to so many people that passed by and they all knew his name. You could be talking to Jorge anywhere on Queen Street East – near Beech Avenue where he lived or on Lee Avenue where he shopped at Foodland – and you would soon realize that he was a local celebrity. He was a lovable fellow. If you knew him, you will miss him a lot. If you didn’t know him, let me tell you a little about Jorge and his contribution to our community.

Jorge was a proud Cuban. He loved his Cuban cigars. He loved his Latin culture. But most importantly, he loved Canada and felt lucky to have lived here. Jorge was a patriot at heart. I think of the giant Canadian flag he placed outside of our building, which reminded us to be outwardly patriotic. Jorge also liked our neighbours to the south. He was a huge New York Yankees fan and he often got flack for that. He didn’t care what others thought when he wore his Yankee’s jersey, because that was his favourite team before he came to Canada. Jorge was not a conformist. He was bold and lived an authentic life.

You know how people say, that person would give you the shirt off of their back? Well, that was Jorge. During the summer, my husband complimented him on his LeBron James jersey. Later that week, Jorge bought him the same jersey. We were both touched by his generosity. Jorge was truly one of the nicest people we knew. He was generous with his time and money. If you were sitting next to him at a bar and you were having a conversation with him, he most likely would buy you a drink or two.

What I didn’t tell you about Jorge was that he felt lonely. He had no family in Canada. A couple of times he had said that we, his neighbours, were his family. We had known Jorge for a little over two years and we always loved talking to him. Jorge shared his collectivist culture with us.

He inspired us to not be so individualistic, and to do more than just greet our neighbours. He taught us to take the time to talk to our neighbours and get to know them better.

We will miss you Jorge in unit #2. Rest in peace.

Love,

Your old neighbours in unit #3

Jorge was in his late 40s when he died, and the cause of his death is still unknown to us.

He is survived by his mother and daughter in Cuba. It is our mission to reach them and pass along our condolences.

If you would like to pay your respects to Jorge, there is a curved red bench he loved to sit on, located on Beech Avenue and Queen Street East in front of The Wholesome Market. Feel free to leave flowers and notes there.

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11 comments

Thank you for this! He was a pleasure and an absolute prime example of what our neighbourhood is all about- just like this article.

I will miss him along Queen too!!!! Salute!

Gone but not forgotten. I will always cherish the time we had together. Life is too short. You made me laugh and you were there when I was sick. Always there for me and taking care of me. I will miss seeing your great smile. RIP Jorge. Love you.

Hi deidre, iam jorge family’s friend and also taking care of his funeral and bringing him back to Cuba. If you have a memory or something that you would like to share with his family let me know. I will bring this article and beautiful messages to his family in Cuba so they will know how much people loved him here.
Eny.

Thank you for writing this. George was so sweet, so caring and such a gentlemen. I’m going to miss you dearly my freind..On to the next adventure in the cosmos with your cigar xo

I am so saddened. I just got this news and I am in shock. I haven’t seen him for a while and was sad not to have run into him lately. He always brightened my day with his wonderful smile and sweet nature always to help. What a beautiful soul he is. You will be missed Jorge.

A genuine human being whose energy and smile were infectious. He epitomized kindness. He reminded you of the importance of just sitting and talking with friends. You left his presence happy and uplifted. I miss you dearly friend.

Amina,
A lovely tribute to Jorge. I just heard the news from a former neighbour. I too was Jorge’s neighbor (apt#11). I’ll miss seeing Jorge in the neighborhood. My son and I, like many, were always greeted with a big smile, hello and high five for my little guy. My son was just asking about him the other day. I don’t think I have the heart to tell him. Rest In Peace, Jorge. You were always so nice to us – we will miss you.
Melissa

I knew Jorge. He was a kind and colourful soul. I hope his family takes comfort in knowing he was so well-liked and how much he loved them. RIP Jorge.

Thank you for writing this. Jorge’s sister reached out to me to let me know of his passing. He is survived by his Mother, Daughter, and 3 sisters in Cuba. Jorge was an amazing friend of mine and we spent many a weekend watching movies or Forensic Files for hours while talking about our week at work. He was probably the most honest and genuine man I ever knew, and I will miss him forever. Words cannot begin to describe.

I received an email from one of Jorge’s sisters this evening and she sends her heart-felt thanks and gratitude to everyone for their kind words and for confirming for her that her brother was so loved by all. The family’s hearts are broken over this tragedy. “These words have touched my heart and the soul of my brother lives in his friends and neighbours, and in the place where he loved to sit.” Jorge loved family above all else.

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