Maria Verona Garcia

Mar 11, 1977 - Aug 10, 2019
Age : 42
Miami, Florida

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Maria Verona Garcia (known as Verona), 42, of Miami, Florida, was born in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, in the state of Guanajuato. She was a bright ray of sunshine and a force of nature from the minute she was born. It was a miracle that she was born alive, and it took an extraordinary set of circumstances to all happen exactly as they did, or she would not have survived her birth. So Verona was a miracle and every day of her life was a miracle and her family is very grateful to have been part of her life for 42 years. Because of her we also have three more miracles: her children Avi, Soli, and Jack. Her mothers favorite memory of her as a child is when she was two years old and she was dancing around on top of the bed, flapping her arms and singing Chiton, chiton, chiton. Everyone laughed as she invented her own dance moves, and her new dance was dubbed the Chiton. Michael Jackson had nothing over her. Verona and her family came to the U.S. when she was four years old and her brother Bill was a baby. They had to cross the border without their papers in order, which was difficult and somewhat traumatic. Verona never lost touch with her Mexican heritage, and she was very proud to be a Mexican. Verona dropped out of high school and then got her GED and started her higher education in Community College. She went on to earn a BA and two Masters Degrees, and she was working on her PhD. She worked at several different colleges and advanced to Chairperson of World Languages at Miami Dade College. The week before her passing she interviewed for a job as Associate Dean at a Community College in Minnesota. Even though she only stayed for one or two years at each job, she made improvements everywhere she went, always trying to make things better for students and faculty. At the English Language & Culture Institute (Monmouth, Oregon) she created the Writing Center to help international students with their written English. At Keiser University (West Palm Beach, Florida) she formed the International Student Club, organized the International Fair, and created a service-learning program called Quantum House, which paired international students with families in the community who were experiencing serious medical issues. At Miami Dade College she created the World Languages Student Ambassadors program, the Peer Mentoring program, and a system of Lead Teachers based on courses taught, so that part-time teachers could enjoy the support and mentorship of more experienced tenured professors as well as shared books, syllabi and discussions. As Co-Chair of the Hispanic Heritage Month, she organized colleagues, students and community members in order to create thought-provoking programming such as Day of the Dead, an art exhibit of Frida Khalos work, talent shows, Latinx panels of speakers, and a forum on LGBTQ Media & Activism in Latin America. Verona was always connecting with people and creating new opportunities for them to interact. Her brothers favorite memory of her is when he was about five years old and she helped him learn to ride his new bike, which was too tall for him and had no training wheels. She helped him get up on the bike at the top of a grassy hill, and gave him a push to start him rolling down the hill. He learned very quickly, and to this day he is an enthusiastic bike-rider. Her mothers favorite memory of Verona as an adult is of her sitting on a giant statue of a lion in Barcelona with her arms flung out, as if she were flying. Her wild and free spirit will live with us forever. Verona died in a car accident on August 10, 2019, when an oncoming car crossed the line and hit her car head on. Her great friend Koss Chaouadi was with her in the car, and he survived. Verona is survived by her three children -Avilana, Solaris, and Jack Garcia Tafolla- and the childrens father, Saul Tafolla Martinez. She also is survived by her brother Bill Garcia and his wife Deann Garcia; her mother Kayla Garcia; her stepfather Tracy Rupp; her aunt Mary Sauer and her family: David, Derek, Jennifer, Allie, and Tyler Smolek; her aunt Jan Sauer and her family: Michael and L.B. Miller; her uncle Sam Sauer and his family: Lisa and Katie Jean Sauer; her aunt Beth Richter and her spouse Mark Richter; and her father Francisco Garcia Torres and his extended family.