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Matilda "Tillie" Garza

Obituaries in Geneseo, IL | Geneseo Republic


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Matilda “Tillie” Garza, 94, of Geneseo, passed away on December 20, 2020, at Hillcrest Home, Geneseo, IL. Due to COVID restrictions, all services will be private and for family only. A private, family only, Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 29, 2020, at St. Malachy Catholic Church, Geneseo. Father Daniel Gifford will officiate. A private visitation will be held at 10:00 a.m. prior to the Mass. Due to COVID restrictions, the private Mass of Christian Burial will be live streamed on the church’s Facebook site ( for friends and loved ones to view. Vandemore Funeral Homes & Crematory – Geneseo Chapel will be assisting the family with arrangements. Memorials may be directed to St. Malachy Catholic Church.

Matilda “Tillie” Zupan was born December 4, 1926 in the city of Rend, Illinois, the daughter of Anton and Violet “Ruby” (Prsa) Zupan. Tillie spent her youth growing up on the South side of Chicago. She married Roy Garza on December 13, 1950. Together, they had two children, Roy and Irene. She was a housewife until she and her husband opened Roy Garza’s Mexican Food Restaurant and operated it for several years before moving to the Quad Cities in 1963. They moved to Geneseo in 1971 where they opened Roy’s Taco House Restaurant, running it until they sold it in 1982. Roy preceded her in death on October 14, 1985. Tillie was a member of St. Malachy Church in Geneseo. One of her greatest joys came from spending time with her family. She played a big part in her grandchildren’s lives and left them with many unforgettable memories. She loved watching them grow up and was very proud of their accomplishments. Tillie loved spending time in Irene’s and her son-in-law, John’s back yard. She was a pro at pinching off the old blooms to encourage new growth. Every spring she took great pleasure in taking Irene to buy flowers for her garden. When the holidays came along you could find her in Irene’s kitchen listening for instructions on how to form the cookies in her hand. She always said she was just the helper! Tillie also had a love for games! She especially liked playing the marble game “Aggravation” with her son, Roy and daughter-in law, Missy. She always gave them a run for the money! Tillie was an enthusiastic Canasta player who taught and passed on the tradition of playing the game to her children and grandchildren. They will always remember her saying during the game, “And now tells the story.” Anyone who knew Tillie knew of her feistiness, her love for Elvis music, her dropping a slug in the jukebox to play Mexican music to dance around the restaurant with her husband, her big heart and her love of telling the many stories of the wild and crazy times of her youth. Those memories will live long in their hearts.

Those left to cherish her memory are son and daughter-in-law, Roy and Missy Garza, Moline, daughter and son-in-law, Irene and John Kemmis, Geneseo; four grandchildren, Andrea Newcomb (Tim), LeClaire, IA, Carly Kemmis Knepper (Doug), Kernersville, NC, Rachel Lemmons (Shannon), Moline, IL, and Rafe Kemmis, Durham, NC; six great-grandchildren, Dillon Garza, Santana Chavez, Cereno Chavez, Scarlet Garza, Haley Newcomb, and Cale Lemmons; and great-great-grandson, Cassian Chavez. Other survivors include one brother, William Zupan; many nieces and nephews; and faithful friend, Maureen Johnston.

Her parents, husband, four sisters, Ann Dominikovich, Mary Bashaw, Violet Glowczynski, and Rosemary Cadle, and brother, Anton Zupan preceded her in death.

Posted online on December 22, 2020