Veteran guitar tech and musician Benny Garcia, whose friendship with Vince Gill dated back to both men's Oklahoma upbringings, died last Saturday (May 9) in Oklahoma City from pancreatic cancer. He was 64 years old.
The Tulsa native was born on May 7, 1956. Beyond his work with Gill which dated back to two old friends' high school days, he served as a guitar tech for classic rock act Crosby, Stills & Nash as well as country music stars The Dixie Chicks, Trisha Yearwood, Mary Chapin Carpenter and fellow Oklahoman Reba McEntire.
"Benny and I had a 50-year friendship," said Gill in a press release. "We met as kids and played in our first garage bands together, and for the last 30 years, he traveled with me everywhere. And for the last 50 years we've been inseparable."
Garcia is survived by his wife of over 40 years, Brenda, as well as mother Clara, his sister Lisa Renee' Garcia and her fiancé Jeff Wilder, brother Paul Garcia, Aunt Matilda Alviso and numerous cousins. He was preceded in death by his father, legendary western swing guitar player Benny Garcia, Jr.
Artists to employ the elder Garcia (March 20, 2016- Sept. 17, 2005) during his career include longtime boss Tex Williams, with whom Garcia recorded the hit "Suspicion" and appeared in multiple Western films. Garcia Jr. also performed over the years with Hank Penny, Bob Wills, Benny Goodman and Patsy Cline.
Fan and peer memories on the younger Garcia's tribute page involve such Gill-sponsored events as the Vinny Invitational, a golf tournament that's raised more than $8.0 million dollars in its first 27 years.
No funeral services will be held due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, but a celebration of Garcia's life is expected to happen at a later date.