Manuel Goncalves Leonardo was born in Feteira, Terceira, on the Azorean islands of Portugal on January 12, 1944 to his parents, Maria Jesus Borges and Manuel Goncalves Silva. He began his Heavenly journey and met Jesus on September 16th surrounded by his wife and daughters. He was 76 years old.
Manuel met the love of his life, Merces Machado Goncalves Rocha and they were married in Terceira on January 4, 1970. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with family and friends this past January.
Manuel, and his brother, Joao, with their wives, Merces and Maria Lourdes, (who were also sisters), immigrated from the Azores to Hanford in 1969 where he worked on the Dean Mills dairy for many years. Through long hours of hard work and dedication, Manuel and Joao saved enough to start their first dairy, with their brother-in-law, Joao Pereira in 1976. Manuel and Joao purchased their present dairy site in 1983, near Selma, where they raised their families and their business flourished.
Manuel loved the dairy industry, his family and his Portuguese heritage. He was an active member of the Our Lady of Fatima Festa committee, having served as President and various officers for multiple years. He was actually one of the original members of the committee. He was a devout Catholic and served as a role model to his entire family. He enjoyed attending Festas, playing cards, and visiting with family and friends.
Manuel is predeceased by his parents, Maria Jesus Borges and Manuel Goncalves Silva; his sister, Leonesa Pereira; and nephew, Frank Pereira.
Manuel is survived by his loving wife, Merces; his daughter, Mary Soares, and her husband, Louie Soares of Modesto; and his daughter, Brianna of Hanford. The loves of his life were his five granddaughters, Danika, Hayley, and two-year old triplets Harper, Emersyn, and Riley. Manuel is also survived by his brother, Joao Leonardo, and sister in law, Maria Lourdes Leonardo, of Hanford as well as numerous godchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews, extended family members, and close friends. Manuel loved kids, was Tio to many, and served as a mentor, dad, and hero to those that were lucky to know him.
A rosary will be held at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in the courtyard at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Laton, CA with the funeral mass following the rosary. Social distancing rules will be enforced and all persons attending are required to wear a face mask.
Interment will be held immediately following the mass at Calvary Cemetery. Due to the pandemic, only immediate family will be allowed to attend the interment.
Remembrances may be sent to any charity of the donors choice.
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