LA MARQUE — Former councilman and girls softball advocate Sedonie “Sonny” Manuel died Monday after a long illness. He was 76.

Manuel served on the La Marque City Council from 1997 to 2001 and served one term as mayor pro tem.

Lifelong friend and former city councilman Lloyd Criss said Manuel was a “real liberal-minded and kindhearted guy who cared about people.”

The two lived across the street form one another after Criss’ family moved to La Marque. Both were heavily involved in their respective unions.

Manuel worked for more than two decades for Amoco’s Texas City refinery and was a leader in the OCAW union, now the United Steelworkers.

Manuel and Criss would eventually serve on the City Council together.

“No one was as kind hearted and cared about helping the little guy as Sonny did,” Criss said.

Manuel’s love for his home in La Marque showed even in his final days, his son Walter Manuel said.

Even as his illness progressed, he insisted on coming home from the hospital, Walter Manuel said.

Before getting into politics, Sonny Manuel was one of the driving forces in establishing a softball program at La Marque High School.

He pushed for the sport in large part because he coached his daughter Becky, a multisport athlete. It wasn’t as easy as at first thought, even though La Marque had to expand its girl’s sports because of the federal mandates under Title IX.

Eventually, he and Jessie Castro convinced then-La Marque superintendent Mike Moses to urge the school board to add the sport. The district did and several years later, the Lady Cougars won a state title in the sport that Manuel devoted his time to see played in La Marque.

He and his wife, Maggie, were active in support of the La Marque Library and other city activities.

The couple was married for 55 years and before that dated for three.

“We dated all through school up until I graduated,” Maggie Manuel said. “I graduated on a Friday and we got married that following Saturday.”

The couple had three sons and a daughter.

“Dad was really was a great dad to all of us kids,” Walter Manuel said.

Maggie Manuel said others often remarked about their longevity as a couple.

“Sonny would used to say that I was like Blue Bell Rocky Road ice cream,” she said. “I had no idea what he was talking about, but he always came up with sayings like that. It sounded like a romantic thing to say.”

Funeral services for Manuel are scheduled for Friday.

Contact Mainland Editor T.J. Aulds at 409-683-5334 or tjaulds@galvnews.com.

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(4) comments

Robert Buckner

I always appreciated Sonny's approach to local issues with a healthy dose of "common sense". He did care about the "little guy" and was the citizen's representative on council. LaMarque has lost a real community leader. My sympathy to Maggie and the family.

MissionaryMan
Walter Manuel

Thank you Robert for your kind words, Dad and Mom loved La Marque so much they made sure that all of us kids did our part growing up to be involved in everything in order to make it sucessful.

Even in his final days he was still just as proud to call La Marque home as he ever was.

The day before Dad left us, Dad was able to see the true love and spirit that still exists in La Marque. A very kind and generous citizen from La Marque donated a bicycle to a LMISD student in Dad's honor who she had been observing walking and some times even running to and from school each day. The bicycle was brought to Dad's bedside for him to see along with a note explaining the significance of what it truly means to "give to others". I can only imagine how this started Dad to thinking of all the things that this young man was capable of accomplishing in his own lifetime which all starts with a solid foundation of family support and a good education.

Dad has left us kids such big shoes to fill, but regardless of how big the battle may be he always reminded us, win or lose you always give it the best that you got!

What a great Father us kids were blessed to have. We will certainly miss his wisdom and humor, but one things for sure he'll never be far from us! [wink]

JBG JBG

"Any man's death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind....." Those are words pinned by the great English poet John Donne ( 1572-1631 ).
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I did not know Mr. Sonny Manuel. It would seem I did not have to know him,...because though he is no longer with us,...any individual can observe, that which he leaves behind in order to know who he really was,....and what he was about. What kind of family he raised, and the individuals in this world who are better, for him having passed this way.
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Mr. Aulds said in this story that Mr. Sonny Manuel was deeply involved in LM City, and community services,...and that he was involved in children activities as well. I see that he had one wife for over fifty years, who he loved, provided for, and protected. I see that he was a hard worker, who not only worked in the local petro-industries here, but also owned his own business in the community, thereby creating jobs for others as well!
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I see that he was also a champion of the "little guy"....and loved to help his fellow man. Naw....I did not know this man,.....BUT yet I know him now,...and I feel diminished, FOR I TOO AM INVOLVED IN MANKIND! When the bell tolls Friday, it will toll in honor,...and at the same time it will toll in want! In honor for a great LaMarque citizen moving on,...and in want, for others to follow the examples he has created and left behind!
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May God bless the family in their hour of grief and bereavement.

George Croix

I worked with Sonny at various times over the course of many years at the refinery, and we also met head to head many times during the course of management/labor issues that needed the participation of a Steward.
I always found him to be two things:
1) A forceful advocate for his beliefs and the welfare of his coworkers.
2) Fair.
As one also never prone to backing up when I didn't think such was called for, you'd think that two hard heads in the same small space would be trouble.
No.
Not when a man is willing to listen to both sides, then act accordingly for the situation at hand, as Sonny was, in my own dealings with him.
This takes not just experience, and an ability and willingness to sift through the BS, but it also takes mututal respect.
I didn't always agree with Sonny, but I could always talk with him, man to man.
No yelling, no untoward comments, just the business at hand.
Anyone who's BT/DT understands the limitless value of that.
I salute Sonny's combination of co-worker, advocate, and worthy adversary. A good man.
My sympathies to Sonny's family.

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