Emily Garcia loved softball.
As a freshman and sophomore at Bellevue East High School, she started at first base on the varsity team and lettered both years.
“She loved the game,” said Tom Horton, Bellevue East's head softball coach. “She had a great passion for it. She was always trying to improve her game. She was always at the ballfield.”
Her parents, Perry and Pandy Garcia of Bellevue, agreed.
“Softball was her passion and, in turn, softball is our life,” her mother said.
Emily Elle Garcia, 16, died Saturday from a pulmonary embolism. An asthma sufferer, she became ill at home and was pronounced dead at the Bellevue Medical Center, said her mother.
Emily Garcia was the designated hitter for her high school team. She previously played for the Bellevue Shockers, a select softball team.
Horton provided some of Emily's stats: She led the team in doubles and hit over .400 last season. “She was a big part of our team,” he said.
As news of Emily's death spread, “some of our (team) leaders pulled together dinner for her family Sunday night,” he said, and organized a candlelight vigil later that night outside Bellevue East.
Emily's parents and coach also noted her sense of humor.
“She always had a way to make you laugh, to look at the situation and put a humorous spin on it,” her mother said.
Horton said: “She was a great kid. ... She had a very unique sense of humor that the whole team enjoyed.”
At Bellevue East, Emily also competed in track and field, throwing the shot put and discus, and worked on the school newspaper, the Tom Tom.
Emily also loved all kinds of music.
“It was the words in the music,” her father said. “It helped her express her feelings and thoughts.”
Besides her parents, other survivors include brothers Matthew Garcia of Denver and Adam Garcia of Cody, Wyo.; grandparents Albert and Ginny Zuege of Imperial, Neb., and Frances Blacker of Durango, Colo.; and great-grandmothers Sophia Zuege of Haigler, Neb., and Patsy Bryan of Colorado Springs.
A memorial service will begin at 2 p.m. Thursday at Thanksgiving Lutheran Church, 25th Street and Nebraska Highway 370 in Bellevue.