Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Manuel P. Guerrero

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This is my father. He passed away last week of a heart attack the day before he was due to have open heart surgery on January 8 (my birthday). He lived in MN and I was on my way to see him, I was going to spend the day with him before the operation. I missed him by a few hours as he passed away in the wee hours of the 7th. But I spoke to him on the phone the previous day and we discussed the novel The Goldfinch which we'd both just finished reading. We loved it and had fun talking about it. I'm happy I got to share that with him. I read the last paragraph of the novel at his funeral, it seemed extremely fitting in so many ways and I think he would have found it perfect. Here are some of my favorite pictures of him and with him.

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This is him at my uncle's ranch in Arizona. It was one of his favorite spots in the world. I love everything about this picture: him, the glints of sunlight, the green bench, his hat, the cotton and color of the shirt and the worn out Levi's. He was a great dad, a stellar human being - gentle, loving, kind, smart, sane. I loved him very much and will miss him dearly. 

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This is us just a few months ago on the Highline in Manhattan - the morning after our store opened there. I'm so happy he was able to come to the opening.

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Here we are a few years ago at my niece's graduation. I always liked how much we looked like one another in this photo  He was always such a smart dresser and with his suits he always wore bow-ties. He played a huge part in my aesthetic life, in my design choices, in my career path. He was probably one of the few people in my life with impeccable taste. One of the most influential things he'd ever said to me was, "You can be whatever you want to be, baby." Somehow it just seemed with that phrase he was giving me the strength to do and achieve anything I wanted. I was his baby, the youngest of his 6 kids, so he always affectionately referred to me as baby.

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On a walk in St. Paul in his beautiful Cathedral Hill neighborhood last winter.

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This is an old picture as Oscar is now ten, but I will always love this image of him - so handsome and O looking so proud to be with his Papi. If you would like to read more about him, there was a piece in the St. Paul paper here and there's a wonderful audio interview of him on the Minnesota Historical Society's website (as well as the transcript.) 

8 comments:

Lei said...

I am sorry for your loss Clare. Your father seemed like an amazing person. What a beautiful tribute to him this is!

Lei said...

Clare, I am sorry for your loss. Your father seemed like an amazing person. What a beautiful tribute to him.

Benedicte said...

I am so sad for you. What a beautiful man !

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry. I read the interview and got the sense of a man who had an important place in the Chicano community, the larger community of Minneapolis, and in the hearts of his family. You do him proud.
Lisa

Elsie said...

Clare - I'm so sorry. This post was very beautiful. Besos to your family.

Margo Peck said...

Dear Clare,
Thank you for sharing your father's story with us. A lovely, poignant tribute. My heartfelt sympathy to you and your family.

Margo

Anonymous said...

I read his story. What an amazing story and what an amazing man. So sorry for your loss.

Heather C. said...

What a lovely tribute to your dad. Peace be with you.