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Memorials: Mexico City Monthly Meeting

Jorge Martinez Garza

Date of birth

May 17, 1939*

Date of death

Jan. 1, 2014*


Mexico City Monthly Meeting
*Date(s) of birth and/or death approximate

Memorial minute

Jorge Martinez Garza was born in Monterrey, Nuevo León, in the north of Mexico on May 17th, 1939. He was an intelligent and rebellious youngster with a clear mind for what he wanted from life.

He married Marina María de los Ángeles Rios Soto in 1967, and they had three children: Marina Estrella, Jorge and Omar Gabriel.

Jorge studied mechanical engineering at the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) and then had a long stay in Los Angeles, California to learn English. There he discovered Shakespeare and his own insatiable hunger for English literature. He moved to Mexico City and worked at engineering jobs at Otis and Bombardier to support his independent life.

Within a year, he began to teach English at the Instituto San Carlos. There he joined the Costeños basketball team, a family run basketball club, where the coach became his father-in-law and the assistant coach his wife.

He attended lectures in English at the Escuela Nacional de Maestros in San Cosme where his advanced knowledge of English literature did not go unnoticed. In the fifth year of studies and prior to graduation, he became a lecturer in English literature at the ITESM.

He taught English at Middle School No.109, León Felipe for 30 years until his retirement. “El Teacher,” as he came to be known in his school and his neighborhood, made use of creative teaching methods to enhance his students’ learning. A master storyteller, Jorge employed imagery and inspirational narrative to encourage thousands of students to continue studying and learning. Participation in sports, basketball in particular, was another teaching resource he made use of to promote better grades amongst his students. He was a much loved teacher.

Jorge‘s views on social equality developed from an early age. In the latter part of his life, his work became more visible as he continued teaching English to, in most cases, people aspiring to better opportunities in life. In Casa de los Amigos in Mexico City he encountered Quaker teachings. Jorge began to translate Pacific Yearly Meeting's “Faith and Practice” into Spanish, making a significant contribution to the dissemination of Quakerism in Mexico and the Spanish-speaking world.

During this years-long work, Jorge was invited to talk with Friends in California about the project. It was trips such as these that were a catalyst for Jorge seeking membership in the Society of Friends. On one occasion, Jorge had planned to attend the annual gathering of Pacific Yearly Meeting, but moments before takeoff, his fear of flying took over. He panicked and rushed off the plane. Frustrated and embarrassed, he told those waiting for him in Los Angeles that he had been unable to make the flight due to his own error, and that he would pay for the ticket. After some discussion, the waiting Friends informed him that they would cover his ticket cost. This act of generosity, among others, moved Jorge deeply.

Jorge went on to serve Mexico City Meeting in many capacities, most particularly as Elder ensuring every new face at Meeting for Worship had someone to talk to during fellowship. He could often be found deep in discussion with one or two attentive Meeting attenders long after fellowship had ended.

At Café La Tregua, a bohemian Mexico City café, Jorge led discussion groups in English, French and Italian. He supervised these conversation clubs for years, and made many long lasting friendships.

When he was eight years old, Jorge was chasing a fly ball on a stretch of dirt between the river and the mountain in the small town of Zacatecas, Nuevo León. The glove and his eyes zeroed in on the baseball, unaware of the deep well he was running towards. In the six hours it took to hoist him out, his desperation turned to claustrophobia. But he came out. He chose his path, and he authored his life.

May he rest in peace.