Manuel Valenzuela

Obituary of Manuel Cordova Valenzuela

Manuel C. “Manny” Valenzuela

“Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth…….and touched the face of God.”-High Flight poem by John Gillespie Magee, Jr. 

On August 28, 2023, Manuel C. “Manny” Valenzuela, 88, an accomplished pilot, took off one last time from Earth to be with our Lord, Jesus Christ. He was a loving husband, brother, dedicated father, proud grandfather, and good friend. Manny was born in Nacozari, Mexico on April 9, 1935, and immigrated to the United States in 1956. He came to the United States with optimism, and willingness to work hard, in pursuit of the American Dream for him and his family. Manny was drafted in 1958, and proudly served our Country as a soldier in the US Army. He worked at Magma Copper Company in San Manuel, AZ for 37 years, starting as a laborer, and progressively advancing in the organization, rising to the position of Chief Surveyor. He was always in pursuit of growth and being the best he could be. After his retirement in 1993, he served another several years as an Arizona Deputy Mine Inspector. 

In 1964, Manny married the love of his life, Amelia M. Valenzuela, and they were married for 48 years, until her passing in 2011. Together,  they focused their lives on parenting and raising their children. Manny invested much time and love in his children, coaching countless Little League teams, throwing his arm out with tireless batting practice, teaching them to fly, and offering life advice, time and counsel. He was so proud of his children and not shy about telling anyone who would listen, about their successes and accomplishments. Manny believed in the power of reaching one’s dreams, with enough hard work, persistence, and positive attitude. After his time in the Army, he decided that he wanted to learn to fly.  Manny became good friends with his flight instructor and mentor, the legendary American aviator, Walter Douglas, Jr. Manny earned multiple flight ratings, including Private Pilot, Commercial Pilot, Multi Engine Rating, and Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). Manny loved flying.  He was a natural teacher, and taught countless students the joy of flying, including several who went on to aviation careers.

Manny was preceded in death by his wife, Amelia; mother, Belen; father, Manuel; and sister, Maria Jesus. He is survived by his children, Manny (Laura), Manny Jr. (Sandra), Carlos (Kelly), Jerry (Guille), Clay (Maria), and Eddie (Caitlynn); his grandchildren, Sean (Sabrina), Amy (Mark),  Brianne (Auggie), Kristen, Amanda, Aaron, Amber, Dylan, Mateo, and Isabella; and great-grandchildren, Addyson and Aubrey.

All services will be held on Tuesday, September 5, 2023. Visitation will take place from 9:00 - 10:00  AM at Adair Avalon Funeral Home (8090 N. Northern Ave, Oro Valley, AZ 85704). The Holy Rosary will be recited at 10:30 AM, and Mass will be offered at 11:00 AM, both at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church (8650 N. Shannon Rd., Tucson, AZ 85742). Interment will follow at Holy Hope Cemetery (3555 N. Oracle Rd., Tucson, AZ 85705)

If anyone would like to make a donation in Dad’s name, the recommended organizations are the John Paul II Medical Research Institute,, and the Reachout Women’s Center, 2648 N. Campbell Ave., Tucson, AZ 85719.

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A Memorial Tree was planted for Manuel
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Adair Funeral Homes - Avalon Chapel
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