Mary Rebecca Garcia, Associate, one of six children, was born in a coal mining camp in northern New Mexico on September 13, 1930 to Manuel and Clara Garcia. She described her parents as “family oriented, loving, caring, hard working people” who raised their children in the Catholic faith and sent them to Catholic schools.
Growing up in a mining camp made a significant impact on Rebecca. Although her parents were not well educated, they made certain their children were and taught them the value of faith and leadership. Her father, a union leader, was eventually elected to the New Mexico Legislature, where he championed the cause of coal miners.
Rebecca attended St. Patrick’s Academy, staffed by the Sisters of Mercy. After high school she attended the College of St. Mary in Omaha, Nebraska, and eventually completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from New Mexico Highlands University. She earned a PhD in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Mexico.
Rebecca’s career was always in education. She started as a high school teacher in journalism, English, and business and, in time, became a school counselor and worked in school administration. Rebecca worked for the New Mexico State Department of Education, the Zuni Public Schools as Director of Instruction, the Los Lunas Schools as Assistant Superintendent, and St. Mary’s School in Belen as principal.
In total, Rebecca worked for more than 45 years in education. She believed that all children have the capacity to become productive adults, and her role was to foster an environment and stimulus to help children learn.
When she was 26, Rebecca married Edward Lutz. Tragedy struck this couple as, after 15 years of marriage, Edward was killed in a car accident. They had wanted children but, unfortunately, were not given that opportunity.
About the different hardships in her life, Rebecca shared the following: “Although I have had some disappointments (losing my husband, no children, losing my parents), I am basically a happy, positive, and goal oriented person. I feel that God has given me many gifts and I am happy to be an active member of my parish.”
Rebecca enjoyed travel, music, books, and gardening and she doted on her many nieces and nephews. After Edward’s death in 1971, Rebecca pursued her lifelong goal of becoming an airplane pilot. In 1972, she received her commercial and private licenses and purchased a plane, which she used to fly all over the state and beyond. She participated in flying competitions and was elected president of the Albuquerque 99’s, founded by Amelia Earhart for women in aviation. She had a really close call once and ended up gliding her plane to land on the interstate.
Rebecca met Sister Charlotte Moser, OP, at her parish, San Clemente, and was mentored by her and Sister Daria Herbella, OP. She was welcomed to Associate Life in May 1999 and was very active, renewing her commitment several times.
Rebecca Garcia Lutz was an amazing woman, who was fully engaged in life through her many organizations, her parish, her community and her family, as well as the Dominican Family.
The final years brought health challenges, and Rebecca died on May 11, 2016.
Leave your comments and remembrances (if you don't see the comment box below, click on the "Read More" link).
Our Adrian Dominican cemetery with its circular headstones is a beautiful place of rest for women who gave their lives in service to God—and a peaceful place for contemplation and remembrance.
We will post memorial reflections on our faithfully departed Sisters and Associates. If you would like to reflect on a Sister or Associate who has gone before us, please send your reflections – no more than 500 to 600 words – to
We invite you to meet some of the wonderful women who have recently crossed into eternity.