Manuel J. Luis, a lifelong Ripon resident, passed away on May 28, 2019 with his family by his side.
Born to Martin and Anna Luis in Ripon on Christmas Day, 1929, Manuel’s life resembles aspects of another Christmas story; the fictional George Bailey character from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. The sudden death of Manuel’s father and the responsibilities to assist in running the family business, took priority over college and what could have been a different career path. As it would turn out, Manuel never lived more than a mile from where he was born, and his deep local roots were the foundation of his service in the community.
Manuel graduated from Ripon High School in 1946, just after the end of World War II. Being draft eligible, yet needing to run the family farm after his father’s death, Manuel’s draft status was changed allowing him to continue supporting his family. Manuel was also active in the community, primarily through the Grange where he served in a variety of local, regional and state leadership roles for more than 50 years.
The true love of Manuel’s life was his wife, Joyce who died unexpectedly in 2001. High school sweethearts, the two were inseparable, particularly because Joyce did not drive and Manuel was her personal chauffer, a role he cherished as it gave them more time together.
Manuel showed us that an ‘others first’ approach to life is what makes it rich. He was a kind-hearted man who was always ready with a smile and an expert at making people feel comfortable and valued. Manuel loved serving the Grange and particularly enjoyed the annual Almond Blossom Pancake Breakfast where over the years he poured countless cups of coffee to his neighbors and friends in the community. Selected as the Grand Marshall of the 2014 Almond Blossom parade was a wonderful tribute for Manuel and something his family remains proud of today.
Family was everything for Manuel and he is survived by children Diane, Dan (Dana), daughter-in-law Clarice, 7 grandchildren (Joni Christensen (Sheridan), Josh Luis (McKenzie), Joseph Worley (Erika), Kayleigh, Courtney, Nathan and Caleb Luis), 3 great grandchildren (Dominick, Jace, and Kadence, Christensen), and brother, Joseph Luis, also of Ripon.
Manuel’s life will be celebrated with a visitation from 4-6pm on Wednesday, June 5th at Deegan-Ripon Memorial Chapel on 111 S. Palm Street, followed by a Rosary from 6-7pm. Mass will be held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Ripon at 10:00am on Thursday, June 6th followed by a lunch celebration.
Memorials in Manuel’s honor can be sent to the Luis Memorial Scholarship c/o Ripon Unified School District, 304 N. Acacia Avenue, Ripon, CA 95366. In its 17th year, the Luis Memorial Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding Senior FFA student pursuing agricultural studies in college.