Manuel Santana, Santa Cruz County's A...

Manuel Santana, Santa Cruz County's Artist of the Year, dies at 81

There are 14 comments on the Santa Cruz Sentinel story from Jul 4, 2008, titled Manuel Santana, Santa Cruz County's Artist of the Year, dies at 81. In it, Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that:

Manuel Santana, Santa Cruz County's Artist of the Year, restaurateur, painter, community activist, and a transforming force in the political and cultural art of the Central Coast, died Tuesday of complications ...

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Bill Helm

Fair Oaks, CA

#1 Jul 4, 2008
Manuel, you are my surrogate dad and I will miss you. It was a pleasure working for you and Alice for 15 years. You shaped my outlook on life when I was a young man trying to figure it all out. That will always stay with me.
Pia Helm

United States

#2 Jul 4, 2008
Manny, my memories of you were mostly from my childhood. You were always a big teddy bear, who my dad greatly looked up to. Just about everyone in our family has worked at Manuel's at one time or another. It's also the place my parents officially met. I feel honored to have "worked" in your restaurant with my cousin, when we were little. You will be missed!
Pat Levy

United States

#5 Jul 5, 2008
In 1965 I started working for Manuel and Alice in their Seacliff restaurant. It
was there that I met my husband, Bob, learned what a community is, and
enjoyed being a witness to and sometimes a participant in so many events.
Many Levys worked at Manuel's. Bob got put behind the cash register if he
happened to stop by for a cup of coffee. Daughter, Julie and niece, Rebecca
were setting tables and filling water glasses for 25 cents an hour when they
were in junior high. The Santanas were a very important influence in the direction our lives took. Thank you, Manny. Leonard and Angelina - embrace
the condolences that this community wants to comfort you with.

United States

#6 Jul 5, 2008
You've inspired many people with you works. RIP Mr. Santana.
William Kenville

San Jose, CA

#7 Jul 5, 2008
I always enjoyed my memory of seeing Manuel standing with Bud in the front row of the Cabrillo "Little Theatre". I know he was there to see Leonardo, but I think he liked the Gershwin too.
Art Saves Lives

San Leandro, CA

#9 Jul 5, 2008
I am so sad to read this. Tears are streaming down my face. Manuel’s has been "my" place to go for 35 years. When I became a self-employed artist twenty years ago and had my first real measure of success I went there to celebrate. It was a Sunday night and I came in late after an “Art and Wine” art show, and I was the only customer in the place. Manny happened to be there that night. He came over and introduced himself and sat down with me. I told him why I was there and he bought me my dinner, and we shared a bottle of wine. We talked about art and commerce and sharing ones soul with the buying public, and our philosophies and dreams. He made me feel special and beautiful that night, when he toasted me and said,“You have arrived”. I love you Manny and I will always remember that night in your restaurant and you giving me that feeling of acceptance for the path I had chosen. Thank you for sharing that moment in time with me. I know we will see each other again on the other side. XOXOXO

Oakland, CA

#11 Jul 5, 2008
Manuel, I just can't believe he's gone. Such a great person, with much love not only for his family but for other people as well. Thank you and Alice for being there, for showing us that what we decired and wished for could happen if we just put that little hope.
I miss you both and I do wish you were still her making us laugh with the things that you sometimes said, that energy that you had what happend, where is that person now. Now i turn around and your not there, but you know what it doesn't matter as long as we still have you in our hearts. As long as we remember all the great things.
Now as i sit here with wattery eyes I realice that you are being missed very much, and as soon as i begin to speak about you I can't do it for much because of how much it hurts to know that your not here.
To all you reading this lets say a prayer for our Manny, and Alice every night.
Alfredo Santos

Austin, TX

#15 Jul 11, 2008
I only knew Mr. Santana for a short time in 1974. When I went to work for his organization, the Central Coastal Counties Development Corporation, he was gushing with excitement about all the ideas he had to help improve the lives of farmworkers. I went to house once for a party and had never before seen such a wide variety of people who all said they were Manny's friends. Again, I was only fortunate to have known him for a short time before returning to Texas, but I have always thought about him and his graciousness. Que en paz descansa.


#16 Jul 12, 2008
I never missed one of your events/Open Studios. You will leave a place in my heart forever.
Kathy Besag

San Rafael, CA

#17 Jul 13, 2008
My very first memory of Manny was around 1970 when the local Democrats were holding a caucus at the old Mark Thoma; I think it was to redefine the fuzzy focus of the party. In any case, Manny was sitting next to me, and I didn't really notice him until after about an hour he stood up very quietly and asked if he could speak. With the respectful dignity that only Manny could deliver, he said, "this is a bunch of bullshit." And went on to say what he had to say. We were all riveted on this man we'd never heard of before---but what a breath of fresh air! When he sat down to thunderous applause, everyone was going "who is that guy"? Well, we soon found out. It was always great to see him again at Jardine's over the years.
Kathy Besag

San Rafael, CA

#18 Jul 13, 2008
Sorry, that should have been "Mark Thomas" with an "s." And, not that it really matters much, I'm from Pacific Grove.
Margaret Torme

Pinehurst, NC

#19 Jul 14, 2008
Manny, very, very special indeed, shared a love of music and freely sang with friends and family in the patio at Jardine. Will always be an important part of my life.
Margaret Torme

Pinehurst, NC

#20 Jul 14, 2008
oops ... I'm from San Francisco and Mill Valley -- love Santa Cruz and San Juan.
Kirkland Smidt

Millbrae, CA

#21 Jul 18, 2008
I, too, started worked at Manuel's starting in 1971 having known Manny & Alice via my relationship with with Louis and Leonard. A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine sent condolences saying simply "I know that you and Manuel were close". I went straight to the web, read, and just cried. I will miss him deeply. I find it comforting to know that Bill Helm, too, shared my sense of "surrogate parents" with Manny & Alice. They had this way of taking me under their collective wing with their guidance, wisdom and knowledge. I loved working at Manuel's and meeting the constant parade of people whom he call "friends". With his cooking and larger-than-life spirit, he could also throw one hell of a party! Manny, we will all miss you wonderful humanity, humor and talent and much much more.

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