Rubio has described the death in moving terms, although details have changed in his accounts. In February 2010, during Rubio’s electric speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, he said that his grandmother died when his father was 6 and that “the day after her funeral, he went to work selling coffee in the streets of Havana.” Seven months later, when his father died in the midst of Rubio’s Senate campaign, Rubio wrote in an open letter that his father lost his mother when he was “just days shy of his ninth birthday.”
The Social Security numbers for Rubio’s father and grandfather suggest that Mario Rubio received his Social Security number in Florida in 1956 and that Garcia received his in New York in 1956-57.
What’s known of their lives in the United States comes primarily from Marco Rubio’s speeches and writings. He talks and writes lovingly of his father, telling of the family’s regular Sunday trips to the International House of Pancakes and how his father managed equipment for his Pop Warner football team. His father was a bartender and school crossing guard; his mother worked as a hotel maid and stocking shelves at Kmart. The family was itinerant, according to the senator, living at various times in New York and Los Angeles and spending several years in Las Vegas. But it appears that most of their time was spent in the Miami area, where a 1958 city directory shows a Mario Rubio employed at the luxurious Roney Plaza Hotel.