David Garcia, one of the first Hispanic network news correspondents and a former ABC News White House correspondent, has died in Palm Springs, Calif.
If his surname was a novelty in the business back in the early 1970s, his talent and doggedness as a reporter quickly made that an afterthought to those of us who were his colleagues.
He covered the White House during the Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations. To put that accomplishment in perspective, even by 1983, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists says there were still only three Hispanics in network journalism.
Among the stories he covered were the Camp David Accords and the Salt II treaty.
Later as Latin America bureau chief for ABC News, he covered the assassination of Nicaraguan President Anastasio Somoza Garcia as well as the eventual Sandinista takeover.
Garcia was honored with 14 Emmys and nominated for more than twice that number.
He was also generous with colleagues and competitors, eager to talk over stories at the end of the day. He believed it helped the public if everyone covering a story was well-informed, and was confident enough in his own work to believe that even when he shared notes with competitors at the end of the day, he'd get ahead of them the next day.
In his work as a TV reporter in southern California, he became the knowledgeable voice on earthquakes with Fox affiliate KTTV calling him the "premiere earthquake journalist."
In what was supposed to be his retirement, Garcia produced programs for PBS and a series for local cable about Eisenhower Medical Center, where he died this morning from complications of a longtime liver ailment at 63.