Former Austin Mayor Gus Garcia dies at 84

Former Austin Mayor Gus Garcia has died. He was 84. (Photo: Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy / Austin ISD)

Gustavo L. "Gus" Garcia, the former Mayor of Austin, has died at age 84.

Garcia was the city's first elected Hispanic mayor. He won the seat in November of 2001.

He graduated from The University of Texas at Austin, where he received an undergraduate degree in accounting in 1959 and, two years later, became a Certified Public Accountant.

After a successful accounting career, Garcia turned to education. In 1972, he was elected to the Austin ISD Board of Trustees, making him the first Hispanic to serve on the board. He served as board president from 1977 to 1978.

As a board member, Garcia encouraged the district to hire more Hispanic and African-American teachers and administrators, and to award more school construction projects to minority contractors.

In 2007, Austin ISD named Gus Garcia Middle School after the former Mayor.

In 2014, the school became the all-boys Gus Garcia Young Men's Leadership Academy.

"There is always a sense of pride when I look at this school. We always look to the past, to our leaders, for the reasons why we stand here today. It is through their leadership and their work that we stand here today. Leadership -- that's truly what Mr. Garcia demonstrated," says AISD Superintendent Paul Cruz.

After his time on the AISD school board, Garcia served on Austin City Council and was elected Mayor in 2001.

According to Alicia Perez Hodges, former Asst. City Manager, Garcia was dedicated to making sure the Hispanic community was represented in the workplace.

"His vision was that there would be a leveled playing field and his contribution was to make not an advantage for Mexican-Americans -- but level playing field so they could compete," says Hodges.

In 2009, the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce awarded Garcia with their lifetime achievement award.

He is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Marina Gonzalez, and by their three sons and five grandchildren.

Garcia's funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

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