John Garza of famed Sunnyside wrestling family passes away

John Garza, a member of the state-champion Garza family with the Sunnyside wrestling program from 2005 to 2008, passed away on Sunday night because of health reasons. He was 32.

Garza made headlines at The Arizona Daily Star in February 2020 for creating a unique financial literacy course at Pistor Middle School and he was a headliner at Sunnyside along with this twin brother Paul, both of whom contributed to the Blue Devils winning a state-record 14 consecutive state titles between 1998 and 2011 under former coach Robert DeBerry.

John Garza part of a legendary family with Sunnyside wrestling

Paul won consecutive state titles in the 119-pound class in 2008 and 2009 and brothers Eugene and Eddie were also state champions at Sunnyside. Eugene won a title at 119 pounds in 2001 and at 130 pounds in 2002, and Eddie was a state champ in 2004 at 135 pounds.

John was a consumer education teacher within the Tucson Unified School District for six years after earning a Business Administration and Management degree at Embry-Riddle University in 2013.

He served as a data automation intern at the Pentagon in the summer of 2012.

He was serving as an assistant wrestling coach at Tucson High under DeBerry.

John is survived by his wife Cassie, mom Olga and father Art, and brothers Art Jr., Eugene, Eddie and Paul.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

John Garza (left) and his twin brother Paul during a practice at Sunnyside 15 years ago (Tucson Citizen photo)
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