CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Manuel Nunes Vieira, 74, college sweetheart and loving husband of Carole (Flanagan) Vieira, died unexpectedly Wednesday, April 27 at Doctors Hospital in Coral Gables.
Manuel, known both personally and professionally as “Manny,” was born on July 21, 1941, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, Conn. He was the son of the late Joaquim Vieira of Monte da Murtosa, Portugal and the late Arminda Marques Vieira of Pardilho, Portugal.
Manny graduated from St. Francis School in 1955 and Naugatuck High School in 1959. As a young boy he played catcher in the Peter J. Foley League, boxed with Joe Triano/Joe Rossi Golden Gloves and played intermural baseball and basketball for Naugatuck High School.
Manny earned an associate degree in senior accounting from Post Junior College in 1962 and a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in Finance from Husson University in 1964. At Husson, Manny co-founded and co-captained the university’s inaugural soccer team. He was voted the “Players’ Player” by his teammates for his sportsmanship, dedication and work ethic.
Manny started his professional career as a claims adjuster with the Insurance Company of North America. In 1973 launched his own insurance and real estate agency on Church Street in Naugatuck, Conn., later moving his business to 24 Cherry St. In 2013, Manny retired and he and Carole moved to Coral Gables, with plans to travel and spend more time with their daughters and grandchildren.
As a first generation American and having lived almost his entire life in Naugatuck, Manny was as proud of his hometown as he was his Portuguese heritage. Throughout his life, Manny gave his time and energy to numerous Naugatuck organizations. He served as burgess on the Board of Mayor and Burgesses, initially with Mayor Paul Bessette from 1969-1979 and was a decades-long member of the Democratic Town Committee. He is a past president of the Naugatuck Jaycees and a past chairman of the Heart Fund. Manny played a pivotal role in raising capital for the current Clube União Portuguesa building as a member of the club’s finance committee. Manny was an active member of the Rotary Club of Naugatuck for over 25 years. He demonstrated the club’s motto, “Service Above Self,” in the countless projects that he led and contributed to. Manny served as club president from 1991-1992 and was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow, the Rotary Club’s highest honor for outstanding contribution to the community.
Manny was an avid golfer and member of the Country Club of Waterbury for 28 years during which time he made two (unofficial) holes-in-one. As a lifetime sportsman, Manny enjoyed coaching Little Pal Basketball at the YMCA as well as being a coach, referee and judge for Golden Gloves Boxing. One of his greatest pleasures in life was coaching his daughters’ softball team with Peter J. Foley. In addition to participating in and coaching sports, Manny was a lifelong fan of his beloved New York Yankees, Giants, Knicks and UConn Huskies.
Manny was a devoted husband and father and his grandchildren were the lights of his life. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Carole Vieira of Coral Gables; two daughters, Catherine Vieira of Coral Gables, and Michele Vieira and her husband, Matthew Tobiasen, of New York City; four grandchildren, Daniel Vieira Volpe and Christina Jean Volpe of Coral Gables, and Maxwell Vieira Tobiasen and Miles Vieira Tobiasen of New York City; his sister, Arminda Vieira Fragoso and her husband Anthony Fragoso of Old Saybrook, Conn., and several aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and Godchildren. Manny was predeceased by his sister, Maria Vieira Pereira.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday, May 13 at 9 a.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 318 Church St., Naugatuck. Calling hours are on Thursday, May 12 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Buckmiller Thurston Mengacci Funeral Home, Naugatuck.
In lieu of flowers, to honor Manny’s memory contributions may be made to the St. Francis School Foundation, 294 Church St., Naugatuck, CT 06770.