Narciso (“Cisco”) Garcia left his body behind on Thursday March 10. He was diagnosed with a very rare
and aggressive cancer in March 2021, and it finally took his body down. He was blessed with a large
group of loving relatives and friends who visited, cared for and loved him throughout, especially during
the last 6 months which included far too many days in hospital. We were also blessed to spend his last
two weeks at Hospice Austin Christopher House. During that time so many folks were able to visit and
talk with him, and he died holding his wife’s hand.
Cisco was born in San Benito, Texas, into a big extended Garcia family. He treasured the memories of
his Ama María and Apa Pancho, and his early childhood with aunts, uncles and cousins in the RGV. The
youngest of four children, he was the first to be born in a hospital, and among the generations of Texas
Hispanic kids who were physically beaten at school for speaking Spanish.
Cisco’s family moved to Austin around his third grade, and he made lifelong friends at Baker. When that
school was closed and the students reassigned to O. Henry, he made many more friends, including his
future wife, Anne Dunkelberg. Throughout his time at Baker, O. Henry, and Austin High, he stood out as
a gifted natural athlete, a big spirit, an indomitable rebel, and—of course—a gorgeous hunk. Had the
short-sighted coaches of the day not been hell-bent on domination (e.g., demanding he cut his hair if he
wanted to play football), he could have contributed much more to athletic successes at AHS!
Cisco’s natural competence, common sense, and leadership traits served him well in young adulthood,
when he worked at Manor Downs, ran framing crews and did other construction jobs. He later spent a
decade on gas production platforms in the gulf, climbing the ranks despite his occasional habit of telling
management truths about safety and compliance they’d have preferred not to hear.
In 1990, Cisco decided to make a change and pursue his passion to work with kids. (This was a very
attractive quality to his new girlfriend/eventual wife Anne.) Having earned a GED, he worked through
ACC and UT Austin to earn a BA in History, and helped SafePlace make its teen dating violence programs
a success. In 2006, he embarked on over 3 years working in Los Angeles for the VIP Community Mental
Health Center, doing a wide range of youth outreach and violence- and gang-prevention work in Boyle
Heights and South Central neighborhoods. He brought his talents back to Austin in 2009 when he joined
Communities in Schools of Central Texas as a Program Manager at Webb Middle School. He served in
that role later at Gus Garcia and Paredes Middle Schools.
Cisco influenced many folks who worked with middle school kids in his time with CIS, earning a
reputation for his unfailing commitment to supporting kids over institutions—even or especially those
who were struggling the most. He had an amazing talent for connecting to students, and making them
feel heard, known, and respected. School administrators, faculty, and staff marveled at his ability to
help students who were in a hard spot turn around and move ahead. He has a legacy of adults who
learned from him and students who were able to grow and find successes through his hard work.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s Cisco organized a series of Christmas Parties for the Homeless. After a
few less formal years, it was hosted at Mercado Caribe on 6 th street and notably at La Zona Rosa for
several years. Those events were community love made manifest, with food, clothing, live music, and
(strategically limited) beer rations donated by dozens of Austinites. Ask Gordon and Marcia for more
Oh, and there’s golf. He loved it, and taught intro golf for ACC for several years, and served as a
volunteer Marshal at Hancock golf course until the questionable decision was made to automate the
course and eliminate volunteers.
Cisco is survived by his older Garcia siblings John (Aransas Pass), Santa (Dallas), his nieces and nephews,
and his madly devoted wife, Anne Dunkelberg and her family.
Many of you will have much more to say about Narciso. An outdoor celebration of his life will be held at
an April date TBD, where we can all share those memories.
Donations in his memory are welcomed for Faith Food Pantry; Unstoppables Project; Austin Bat Cave;
Amala Foundation; Safe Alliance; Hospice Austin Christopher House; and Communities in Schools of
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Narciso "Cisco" Garcia, please visit our floral store.