Manuel Alfredo Cardoso retired undefeated. He beat death for the last 40-years with every chance he got. He beat cancer over 40 years ago, laughed in the face of Parkinson’s, and barely flinched at the notion of kidney disease. He even went code blue from a heart attack a few years ago before mounting one of his greatest comebacks ever…and those were only his battles. He faced his wife’s schizophrenia and cancer and his first son Nelson’s cancer with the poise and dignity of a true champion.
Those that knew Manuel understood him to be a true Gentleman in every sense. This is what defined him. I know him to be the strongest Man I have ever met.
It is with immense pride that I say that I am my Father’s Son. Nelson was his Father’s Son. Daniel, Matthew and Teresa are our Father’s Grandchildren.
My father’s history is as incredible as he was. He left Pico, Acores in his early teens to gain an education by joining the Seminary in Macau, China. Love pulled him away from joining the church. He met and married my mother and they were together for almost 50-years until she passed in 2019. The early years were special…you can see the love and happiness they shared in their early photos. They lived in apartments in Algarve and a suburb of Lisbon where my father worked as an accounting clerk. Lisbon, and more specifically, one of its soccer teams, Benfica, became his second love (outside of his family of course). He gave up his career path at Banco Espirito Santo and his prized Benfica membership to raise a family and create better opportunities for his kids by moving to Canada. He left his educated life to become a dishwasher at Shopsy’s on Yonge and Front, a metal bender at a heater company and finally to be a school janitor until he retired.
He never once complained about what he sacrificed or gave up or the health hardships that he and his family faced. His path and his hardships were part of the journey. The goal was to leave things better than where he started. Nothing gave him more pride and joy than knowing that his kids were good people and to see his grandchildren grow into Men and Women. He retired knowing that he accomplished his goals. He won the most important championship…and the game was never close.
Manuel Alfredo Cardoso is leaving me, his son Rui; his daughters-in-law, Luisa and Carla; and three grandchildren, Daniel, Matthew and Teresa. He also leaves four loving siblings, Maria Avelina, Alda Bettencourt, Elmira Jorge, Maria Candeias Dias and Gabriel Cardoso. He will be joining his wife, Julia and son, Nelson and his parents, Nicholau and Maria, brother Jose, and brothers-in-law Manuel Jorge and Augusto Rosa in heaven.
I am very close with my father. He is embedded in my life and I know that he has left an imprint on me and on all that met him. I can’t imagine not seeing him again. He was my buddy. However, I know that I am still on my own journey and have to move forward. If my kids one day think of me as I do of my Father, I will know that I have won as well.
As a close, when looking for his documentation, in the basket of his walker, he had his most prize possessions he took with him everywhere:, pictures of his family, his rosary, a book of poetry (his third love), and his 1969 Benfica membership card, with European Champions 1961 & 1962 bolded on the cover.
I will miss you Pai. We will all miss you.
A private visitation and funeral Mass will be held. Due to the restrictions still in place surrounding COVID-19, attendance at the visitation and service is limited; to register, please copy and paste the following link into your browser.