Manuel Charles Perez, 86, a lifelong Parsons resident, died at 8:15 a.m. Monday, Aug. 24, 2009, at his home. He had been in his usual health until Friday.
He was born May 18, 1923, in Parsons to Jose M. and Maria (Mares) Perez. He grew up in Parsons and graduated from Parsons High School.
Because of medical issues, he was unable to serve in the military during World War II. Wanting to fulfill his patriotic duty, he volunteered to repair war-damaged aircraft at Ogden Air Force base in Utah. He served as a draftsman at the airbase from 1941 to 1944, after which time he returned home to Parsons.
Upon returning to Parsons, he attended Parsons Junior College, earning his associate’s degree. He continued his education at Pittsburg State University, earning his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in special education.
On Dec. 31, 1950, he and Dorothy L. Meier were married in Huntsville, Ark. Together they raised a family of six while also opening their home to numerous foster children. Manuel enjoyed taking his family and foster children on many trips.
He used his plastering expertise gained from his brothers, Mike and Joe, to support his family while obtaining both his master’s and bachelor’s degrees. After earning his degrees, he worked at the Parsons State Hospital and Training Center from 1959 to 1963. From 1963 to his retirement in 1986, he worked in the Parsons public schools as a special education teacher employed by the Tri-County Special Education Cooperative. After retiring, he kept his usual form of working hard by teaching at the Labette Community College learning center.
Manuel was chosen as one of 36 teachers in the United States to attend an institute for the research of disadvantaged children. In 2007, he and his wife, Dorothy, were inducted into the Kansas Children’s Service League Hall of Fame for 45 years of service to Kansas children. He was a past board member of the Kansas Children’s Service League.
He was a member of Parsons Foursquare Church. He enjoyed traveling.
Survivors include his wife, Dorothy Perez, of the home; four sons, Daniel E. Perez, Ron L. Perez and his wife, Sonia, Brian D. Perez and Martin C. Perez and his wife, Shelley, all of Parsons; two daughters, Melissa D. Perez and Rita S. Perez, both of Parsons; 14 grandchildren, Lisa Eisenbrandt of Oswego, Sara Hancock of Oklahoma City, Okla., Jeremiah Perez of Fort Worth, Texas, Mario Perez, Selena Perez, Rachelle Perez, Lauren Perez, Marlee Perez, Zach Perez, Jordan Lambkins, Jade Lambkins, Daniel Lee Perez, Jasmine Perez and Javon Perez, all of Parsons; eight great-grandchildren, Mickayla Eisenbrandt, Kiersten Sailsbury, Cecilia Eisenbrandt, Carmen Eisenbrandt, Jacob Hancock, Summer Hancock, Kaleb Perez and Brenton Perez; a brother, Michael Perez and his wife, Connie, of Parsons; a brother–in-law, Leonard Meier and his wife, Donna, of San Diego; and many precious foster children.
He was preceded in death by an infant son, Keith Wayne Perez; a brother; and three sisters.
The service will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Parsons Foursquare Church. Burial will be in Memorial Lawn Cemetery. The family will receive friends at Carson-Wall Funeral Home from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. today.
Memorials are suggested to the Kansas Children’s Service League.