On a cold night a half-century ago, Primitivo Garcia, a young immigrant from Mexico, ran to the aid of his pregnant teacher, who was being attacked by a gang.
They grabbed her purse. Ran hands up her skirt. She screamed, and Garcia, along with his younger brother, came running across the street from Westport High School. Primitivo, always the leader, always the gentleman, had done some boxing in Mexico, and he took on the attackers.
“Shoot him! Shoot him!” one yelled.
A shot rang out. Two weeks later, Primitivo Garcia died. He was 23.
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On Saturday, the Kansas City elementary school named in his honor will host a community celebration to remember his short life. “Come and celebrate the legacy of a true hero,” the notice says.
The teacher, Margaret Kindermann — now Margaret Kelso — will be there. She always said Primitivo saved the life of her unborn baby. That daughter, Marlo Kindermann, will also be there along with her son, Tivo.
“This is about his legacy,” said Irene Garcia Mendez, the youngest of Primitivo’s sisters. “This is about all the lives he affected, like all the kids who have gone to that school. He is a forever hero.
“After 50 years, the family is through mourning. We are going to celebrate my brother’s life.”
The event starts at 11 a.m. Saturday at Primitivo Garcia Elementary School, 1000 W. 17th St.
Last year, The Star compiled a special section on Kansas City heroes. The story of Primitivo Garcia began like this:
Family photos hang in the home of Marlo Kindermann in her small California town.
Among them is a picture of a Kansas City man she never met.
“He saved my mother’s life — he saved my life,” Kindermann said. “He made it so my son could be born.
“He died for all of us. When I need to restore my faith in humanity, I think of Primitivo Garcia.”
In Kansas City, that story makes Alfredo Garcia smile a sad smile. Nearly 50 years later, he still misses “Tivo.” On late fall nights, like those now, air crisp beneath a starry sky, he hears his brother’s words.
“Run, Alfredo! Run!”
Read the complete story here.
Donald Bradley: 816-234-4182