June 27, 1947 - December 4, 2019
Manuel Dias, a Tracy resident of 48 years, passed away peacefully with his family at his side on Wednesday, December 4, 2019, at the age of 72. He was born June 27, 1947, in Santo Amaro, Velas, on the island of São Jorge, Azores. He was one of eleven children born to Manuel and Clara Dias. At the age of 13 he moved to the United States, first living in Gilroy with his parents and siblings, and graduating from Santa Clara High School while working part time for the United States Postal Service. After joining the United States Marine Corps in 1967, Manuel became a decorated combat veteran who served a 1-year tour of duty in Vietnam and earned the Vietnam Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Action Medal, Marine Corps Reserve Ribbon, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal with one Bronze Star, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Rifle Expert Medal, and the Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation. He was exceptionally proud of his military service and reached the rank of Staff Sergeant, continuing his service in the Marine Corps Reserves until August 18, 1986. He received his Associates degree in Criminal Justice from San Joaquin Delta College and served as a reserve police officer for the Tracy Police Department in the 1970’s. Manuel worked for the United States Postal Service in Tracy before retiring at the ripe old age of 55 after 35 years of dedicated service. He received many service awards including the Green Cross for Safety for driving 1 million miles without an accident. He served as Secretary / Treasurer of the National Association of Letter Carriers from 1978-1990. He also served as Secretary / Treasurer of IPFES Portuguese Hall and was a bingo caller for Saint Bernard’s from 1979-1991. He was a member of the IPFES Portuguese organization, VFW, American Legion, and the National Rifle Association. Just before shipping out to Vietnam on December 23, 1967, Manuel met the love of his life, Greta. They exchanged letters during his entire tour of duty until he returned home in January 1969. They married on July 4, 1970, at Saint Clare’s Catholic Church in Santa Clara, CA. They would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary next year. His favorite phrase was, “That’s inGRETAble.” He enjoyed reminding everyone that they moved to Tracy in 1971 when there was only one stoplight in town. Raising their family in Tracy, they remained active parishioners of Saint Bernard’s Catholic Church. He was a devout lifelong Catholic who credited his strong faith for his safe return home from the Vietnam War. Manuel was adamant about attending mass every Sunday, prayed the rosary several times each day with his wife, and served in the ministry of adoration weekly at Saint Bernard’s Catholic Church. He had many friends in the Portuguese communities throughout California and enjoyed attending festas on Sundays to socialize and eat sopas. His notorious sense of humor was well known and he loved cracking jokes and providing comic relief to those around him. His daughters believe this is because he learned to speak English by watching the Three Stooges when he first arrived in the United States. He continued his devotion to the Stooges throughout his life and had all episodes on VHS and DVD, often enjoying them with his grandchildren. He referred to himself as the ‘crazy old Marine sergeant’ and had an endless supply of dad jokes. He was famous for his antics on social media where he was a frequent convict in Facebook jail. He had very strong convictions and was unapologetically himself. Immense pride was taken in maintaining his yards and he enjoyed growing various fruit trees, plants, hydrangea flowers, and keeping his grass perfectly edged and mowed. Manuel also bred rabbits, pigeons, and doves throughout the years and had many loyal German Shepard dogs. His grandchildren were his heart and he spent a great deal of time instructing them how to mow lawns and rake leaves. They have fond memories of road trips with ‘Avô’ and his affection for Denny’s Restaurant and Love’s Travel Stops. He swam in his pool regularly and loved talk radio, especially Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage. You could often find his daily political commentary and JibJab videos on Facebook, Twitter, and in his frequent emails to family and friends. His immense patriotism and love for the Marine Corps have always been prominently displayed throughout his home where numerous American flags and Marine memorabilia can be found in every room. He was one of the first Tracy residents to install a permanent flagpole on his front lawn in the 1980’s to fly the American and Marine Corps flags. Manuel is survived by his beloved wife of 49 years, Greta Dias of Tracy; daughters Elizabeth Leal of Copperas Cove, TX, and Janice Dias of Stockton; son-in-law Luis Leal of Tracy; grandchildren Justin Dias (Brittany) of Killeen, TX, Matthew Leal of Tracy, Vanessa Leal of Tracy, Zachary Leal of Tracy; twin great grandsons Colt and Wyatt Dias of Killeen, TX; siblings Mary Roy of Lincoln, Joe Dias (Leonor) of Brentwood, Madalena Avila of Rodeo, Frank Dias (Mary) of Brookings, OR, Jacinta Silva of Gilroy, Joaquin Dias (Judi) of Lake Don Pedro; sisters-in-law Maria de Lourdes Dias of Santa Clara and Tricia Dias of Sutherlin, OR, and dozens of nieces, nephews, numerous extended family members, and his dog, Rex. He was preceded in death by his parents, Manuel and Clara Dias, his brothers John Dias, Tony Dias, and twin brother Fr. Lewis Dias, his sister Lucy Avila, his brothers-in-law Albert Silva, Maximino Avila, Joe Avila, Art Roy, and his nephew ‘Little Joaquin’ Dias. Tracy Memorial Chapel is in charge of arrangements. Funeral services are scheduled for Tuesday, January 7, 2020, with a rosary at 9:00 AM at Tracy Memorial Chapel, 5 W Highland Avenue, Tracy, followed by a funeral mass at 10:00 AM at Saint Bernard’s Catholic Church, 163 W Eaton Avenue, Tracy. Interment will take place at 1:00 PM at the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, 32053 McCabe Road, Santa Nella, CA, with reception immediately following at Pea Soup Andersen’s Restaurant, 12411 S Highway 33, Santa Nella. Condolences may be expressed at www.tracymemorialchapel.com. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Saint Bernard’s new church site fund, “Building Together With Christ,” 163 W Eaton Avenue, Tracy, CA 95376. The family extends their profound gratitude to the doctors and nurses at Sutter Tracy Community Hospital and Sutter Memorial Medical Center in Modesto for their compassionate care of our beloved Manuel.
Manuel Dias, a Tracy resident of 48 years, passed away peacefully with his family at his side on Wednesday, December 4, 2019, at the age of 72. He was born June 27, 1947, in Santo Amaro, Velas, on the island of São Jorge, Azores. He was one... View Obituary & Service Information
Obituary & Service
Manuel Dias, a Tracy resident of 48 years, passed away peacefully...View More
Flowers & Gifts
Send flowers to the Dias family.Send Flowers