The husband of a teacher who died in the Uvalde school shooting on Tuesday died of a heart attack on Thursday, two days after the mass murder of two adults and 19 children.
Joe Garcia had been married to Irma Garcia for 24 years; the two were high school sweethearts.
John Martinez, Irma’s nephew, tweeted the news on Thursday, writing, “EXTREMELY heartbreaking and come with deep sorrow to say that my Tia Irma’s husband Joe Garcia has passed away due to grief, i (sic) truly am at a loss for words for how we are all feeling, PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR FAMILY, God have mercy on us, this isn’t easy.”
According to The Dallas Morning News, a family member tweeted that Joe “passed away due to grief.”
Martinez spoke to The New York Times, revealing that Joe Garcia paid a visit to his wife’s memorial on Thursday morning to lay flowers at her grave. He claimed he “pretty much just dropped over” when he got home.
Irma, 49, was a fourth-grade teacher at Robb Elementary School. She was recognized in 2019 by Trinity University as a finalist for the Trinity Prize for Excellence in Teaching. She had taught at the elementary school for 23 years.
Martinez posted the GoFundMe page set up in his aunt’s name, which was initiated by her cousin to help with funeral expenses. So far, the fund has exceeded its $10,000 goal and is at $384,036 at press time.
The couple is survived by four children, ages 29, 19,15, and 13.
Martinez tweeted that Irma had died with children in her arms as she tried to shield them from the tragedy.
“She sacrificed herself protecting the kids in her classroom,” the donation page says. “She was a hero. She was loved by many and will truly be missed.”