Duval County Commissioners appoint Interim County Judge EB Garcia

Melissa Cantu Trevino
Alice Echo News Journal
Presiding Commissioner Gilbert Uribe Jr. (right) swore in Edmundo B. Garcia Jr. (left) as the Interim County Judge.

SAN DIEGO - Duval County commissioners voted for Edmundo B. "EB" Garcia to serve as the interim county judge during a special meeting Thursday morning.

Garcia is a former county judge and served for 12 years, according to county officials. He served from 1995 till 2006.

The vote was unanimous.

Garcia was appointed following the unexpected death of County Judge Gilbert Saenz. Saenz died on Oct. 16 in Georgetown during a hike. The official cause of death has not been released, however, sources said Saenz had a heart attack.

Garcia will be interim until a new county judge takes  their oath on Jan. 1, 2023.

"I know this is hard for everybody in the county especially the employees. Losing such a fine young man (like) Judge Saenz," Garcia said. "He was an inspiration to a lot of people. He was instrumental in the county going the way it was. We're going to follow his goals. We're going to follow his ideas as close as we can. We're not going to fill his shoes; that's impossible, but we're going to try."

Duval County Commissioners unanimously approve Edmundo B. Garcia Jr. as the Interim County Judge. Pictured are (LtoR) Commissioner Pete Guerra, Commissioner David Garza, Interim County Judge Edmundo B. Garcia Jr., Commissioner Gilbert Uribe Jr. and Commissioner Rene Perez Jr.

"Together with everybody we're going to do well. We're going to go forward," Garcia said.

Saenz graduated from Freer High School and Oberlin College with honors. After earning his Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas School of Law, he served in the United States Navy Judge Advocate General Corps.  He spent his career working toward justice as a JAG officer, public school teacher, school board member, attorney, and Duval County judge.  He was a member and active supporter of numerous social and charitable organizations.

Saenz is survived by his wife, Savannah Smith; his daughters, Braylynn Lewis Saenz and Ariza Talip Saenz; his mother, Thelma U. Saenz; and his siblings, Sylvia (Sonny) Rodriguez, Selda Saenz (Desi de la Garza), Sara (Celso) Oliveira, and Pablo Saenz III (Joe Hernandez).

Interim County Judge Edmundo B. Garcia Jr. signs his oath of office.

"There's lots to say about our (late) judge. He's a loss not just to his relatives, but to the whole county. We'll all have a place that's lacking in our hearts for the judge," said Commissioner Gilbert Uribe Jr., who presided over the meeting.

Visitation will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22 at Garza Funeral Home in San Diego with a Holy Rosary at 7 p.m. that evening. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 23 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Freer.