Garcia-Vega, Oscar

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NAME: Oscar Garcia Vega


File:PGN Obituary Oscar Garcia-Vera.pdf

From the Philadelphia Daily News Obituary, Monday, March 13, 1995:

Oscar E. Garcia-Vera, an AIDS and gay-rights activist, died Thursday of complications from AIDS. He was 41 and lived in Germantown. Garcia-Vera was active on a number of community groups, said Carole Smith, a longtime friend.

He was a board member of Penguin Place, a gay and lesbian community center, and of CHOICE, the health-care advocacy group.

In 1990, while Wilson Goode was mayor, Garcia-Vera served as co-chairman of the Mayor's Commission for Sexual Minorities. He was re-appointed to the group by Mayor Rendell, said Smith. Garcia-Vera played a major role in the first national conference dealing with AIDS and mental- health issues. The conference was held in Philadelphia in 1992.

He was a lecturer and workshop leader for the Pennsylvania Department of Health on such issues as AIDS and teen sexuality. He also worked with the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging on expanding its domiciliary-care program to include AIDS patients.

Garcia-Vera's tireless volunteer work was in addition to a full-time job as a probation/parole officer for the Philadelphia Adult Probation Department. Garcia-Vera worked for the department for about five years, said Smith. He dealt mostly with probationers and parolees who were Latino or had special medical needs. A native of Puerto Rico, Garcia-Vera lived and attended school in Washington, D.C., for 12 years. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Georgetown University, and a master's degree in journalism from American University. He moved to Philadelphia in 1983, and landed a job as a court transcriber with the Philadelphia courts system.

Garcia-Vera enjoyed singing and theater work. He was a founding member of the Spruce Street Singers. He also helped design sets and costumes for the theater ensemble at the Allen's Lane community center, and for two gay theater groups, Daylight Zone and Avalanche. A well-liked, extroverted man, Garcia-Vera had a great sense of humor and a talent for storytelling, said Smith. Even though he knew he was HIV-positive since 1986, Garcia-Vera was selfless with his time and his friendships, she said. He was always upbeat. Yet, in private, he was very sentimental and sensitive, she said. "He did not wear his heart on his sleeve," she said. Garcia-Vera is survived by his parents, Oscar Garcia Ramirez and Ruth Vera Sanchez; four sisters: Carmen Tercilla, Ruth Giansanti, Maria Garcia-Vera and Myriam Garcia-Vera; four nephews, and three nieces.

Funeral services will be held in Puerto Rico.

A memorial service will be held April 2 at 2 p.m. at Penguin Place, 201 S. Camac St . In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be sent to the center.

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Date of Birth:

Date of Death: March 9, 1995

Age at Death : 41


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His friends include: (type your name here, or names of others) Walter Lear

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