Manuel B. deCastro, 74, passed away at DMC December 4 with his family at his side. He was born in Feteira, Horta, Faial, Azores to Frank I. deCastro and Maria Madalena Bulcao on January 6, 1943. Six days a week every morning he milked their cow, taking the milk to the creamery, returned home to eat, then ran most of the way to be at school by 8 a.m. After school was out at 5 p.m., he walked home to begin working on their family farm, then do his homework. He was known for growing some of the largest produce. Often he took almost the entire day walking miles into the sierras to check on the cattle, sometimes almost getting lost in the dense fog at times. He rarely had time to be a child and play, as his life was one of many responsibilities. When he had a chance, he hunted rabbits for food with his dogs and friends. He also enjoyed making small toys and tops out of wood, as there was little money even for a ball as a child. His Confirmation Godchild from Canada quoted: “If everyone was like Manuel, there would be no problems in our families. His work making little toys always touched you. Manuel made you a better person just talking to you. He was always someone special, which is why I chose him to be my godfather.” As a teenager, Manuel spent some time with his friends going into town.
On August 8, 1962, at age 19, Manuel immigrated to the U.S. and worked milking cows for two years at a dairy in Manteca, then four years for M.S. DeSimas and Sons in Oakdale, where he met Bernadette Parriera, his future wife. They married a year later, and had just celebrated their 52nd anniversary October 30. Manuel left his dairy job June, 1968, for employment at Hershey Chocolate after purchasing his first home in Oakdale. He was proud to become a U.S. Naturalized Citizen in April, 1971. As the family grew, he purchased a larger home in Oakdale. He bought a small almond orchard in 1985 in Escalon, and became a Blue Diamond Member. After driving from Oakdale to Escalon for six years almost every day to farm after his job at Hershey, he and Bernadette designed and built their dream home on the property, where he resided until his death. Manuel retired from Hershey January 6, 2005 after 36½ years of which he had 15 years perfect attendance. He became disabled from suffering several serious illnesses the last 12 years, but gave it his all while he could.
Manuel enjoyed playing cards and fishing years ago. He loved watching sports, reading, The Portuguese TV channel, animals, visits with friends and family. His home was the meeting place for family gatherings. He liked to BBQ, cook kale soup, octopus, and developed his own recipe for roasting our home grown almonds. For years, he made crab cioppino for New Years with 26 crab, sharing it at home plus delivering to family and friends who were shut in. His passion was working the land, including his big vegetable garden. He had planted 20 various fruit trees around the home, which produced a wide variety the entire year. He literally gave away tons of fruit during his life in America. He was devoted to his family, friends, and work, always being there when needed. He had a mechanical mind and could fix almost everything himself for ourselves and others. He was a very thoughtful, kind, respectful man, even never complaining about his pains until they were unbearable. He was a devout Catholic praying the rosary every day. He had a vast knowledge of World and U.S. history and geography and kept up on world events.
Between 1971 and 2013, Manuel took his family driving across country to N.Y. and into Canada to see the U.S. and visit cousins and friends. They also visited family in the Azores, plus site seeing in Andorra, The Lourdes Shrine in Spain and Fatima Shrine in Portugal, and Madeira Island. In 2013 he went to the East coast and had a reunion with his aunt and some friends that he had not seen in over 50 years.
Manuel was a member of St. Mary’s Church in Oakdale for 53 years, Knights of Columbus for 40 years and Oakdale F.E.S. where he helped with the festas and served soupas over 20 years. He also was a member of Our Lady of Fatima Societies of Oakdale and Escalon, Manteca F.E.S., Foresters, and UPEC.
Manuel was a loving husband, father and son. He was preceded in death by his parents and step mother. He is survived by his wife, Bernadette deCastro, of Escalon; daughter Annette Wolf (James Pharr) of Oakdale, and son, Manuel J. deCastro of Riverbank; brother Jose Bulcao deCastro (Maria Luisa) and nephews and nieces of Faial, Azores, aunt Maria Cremilda Pereira of MA, and many cousins in the U.S., Canada and Azores.
Visitation will be Thursday, Dec. 14 at Oakdale Memorial Chapel from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. followed by rosary at 6 p.m. Funeral mass Friday, Dec. 15 at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Oakdale at 10 a.m., followed by burial at Oakdale Citizens Cemetery.
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
Dec. 13, 2017