Body of missing diver recovered in Provincetown

John Garzia.
Courtesy of the Garzia family
John Garzia.

John Garzia, the 80-year-old scuba diver whose body was recovered Friday after he disappeared earlier this week in Cape Cod Bay, died doing what he loved, according to his daughter.

Garzia had been diving for decades, said Ursula Guyer. It was his main hobby. He went every Wednesday, she said.

“I think it kept him young and kept him alive,” said Guyer in a phone interview Friday.


Garzia, of Foxborough, disappeared Wednesday off the coast of Provincetown. His body was recovered by the Massachusetts State Police dive team Friday afternoon, according to Tara Miltimore, a spokeswoman for the Cape and Islands district attorney’s office.

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“There is nothing at this time to indicate the cause of death was anything other than accidental,” Miltimore said.

Guyer said her father liked to dive off Provincetown or in Boston Harbor. Another favorite spot, she said, was Vero Beach, Fla., where Garzia and his wife of 58 years, Roberta, owned a home and spent their winters. He would dive for scallops and explore shipwrecks. Diving in the Great Blue Hole, a huge sinkhole that is a renowned diving haunt located in a reef off Belize, was a thrill for him, she said.

“He loved the ocean life,” said Guyer, 49, who lives in Chicago. “He appreciated the ocean.”

For decades, Garzia was a dentist, who practiced in Foxborough and Mansfield until his retirement in 2000. Garzia, the oldest of three children, grew up in West Grove, Pa. and graduated from Tufts University and Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, according to his daughter. He was a member of the American Dental Association and the Old Colonial Amphibians, a diving club based in Attleboro. In addition to Guyer, he leaves another daughter, Marlena Plummer, and a grandson.


Guyer described her father as a “laid-back,” but hard-working man, who loved his family. He enjoyed Jimmy Buffett’s music and rooting for the New England Patriots.

“He would give you the shirt off his back,” she said.

Garzia said her father always went diving with a partner. He owned the 16-foot Boston Whaler that he set off in Wednesday and was with a diving partner when he disappeared that morning off Long Point in Provincetown.

Garzia was diving in water about 35 feet deep when he failed to resurface, according to the Coast Guard. A crew member on the boat noticed he was no longer attached to his dive flag. At the time of his disappearance, he had about a half-hour’s worth of air left in his tank, according to the Coast Guard. For the next two days, authorities searched for him.

Guyer said the family does not know what happened.


“My guess is a heart attack, but I don’t know,” she said. “It definitely wasn’t a shark attack.”

Guyer thanked everyone who searched for her father. “We really appreciate it,” she said.

A memorial service for her father will be celebrated at a later date, she said.

Garzia was found at around 1:45 p.m. Friday in the same area where he went missing two days earlier, said State Police Trooper Paul Sullivan.

The incident remains under investigation.

Danny McDonald can be reached Alyssa Meyers can be reached