Andrew "Sonny" Garcia - Hero Of Flight 93Back | Next
President and founder, Cinco Group Inc. & Air National Guard Veteran, 62, Portola Valley, Calif.; wife, Dorothy; daughters, Kelly Garcia, Audrey Olive; son, Andrew. He was returning home from a business meeting.
It wasn't unusual for Dorothy Garcia to answer the phone and be confronted by a strange voice she didn't recognize. Time and again, it turned out to be her husband, Andrew, disguising himself. Invariably, even after 32 years of marriage, she fell for it.
That was only one of a bag of tricks employed by Garcia, a California businessman who remained a prankster at heart, even at age 62.
He would create noise with a tiny, hand-held clicker, making people turn around. And he would suddenly peer in one direction, prompting his wife to do the same, in a teasing, "Hah! Made you look" way.
Garcia balanced his whimsical bent with a devout Christian faith and a serious concern for the well-being of others. He didn't just glibly ask people how they were when he bumped into them; like an intuitive therapist, he really wanted to know.
With his olive skin and strict adherence to a daily regimen of jumping jacks, toe touches and sit-ups, Garcia didn't look his age.
He played tennis and golf, jogged three miles a day, and sometimes could be found on the soccer field helping coach a children's team while still in business attire.
Born to a family with roots in Spain and raised in San Jose, Garcia grew up working in fruit orchards and at his father's grocery store. He also delivered mail, putting himself through San Jose State University, where he was a sprinter.
After graduating in 1961, Garcia went to work for United Airlines as a purchasing manager at its engineering base in San Francisco. Dorothy worked as a secretary downstairs
Eventually, Garcia left the airline and, with Dorothy, founded Cinco Group Inc., which sells industrial products.
In the 1960s, Garcia was in the Air National Guard. He began learning to fly, but switched his study to become an air traffic controller and never attained his pilot's license.
That didn't dampen his interest in flying, though. He used to load his oldest daughter, Kelly, into their Volkswagen with a sun roof and park at airports to watch the planes. They knew every model -- military and civilian -- just by the shape.
Kelly earned her pilot's license in 1992.