Manuel “Manny” Tena


Manuel “Manny” Tena, 90, passed away peacefully at his Miami home surrounded by his wife, children and friends on Dec. 22, 2023, at 3 p.m. He was born April 19, 1933, to Serapio Tena and Angelina Quijada in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. During his early years, he moved to Superior, Az., and later Miami. Manuel Tena joined the United States Air Force in 1950 and was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. He served as a military cook. After serving four years, he was honorably discharged in 1954 and returned to Miami. It was in Miami where he met his future wife, Lena Hernandez, and in 1960, they married at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and were married for 63 years. They started a family, and Manuel’s career path ultimately led him to work for Cobre Valley Motors and Inspiration Mine, and he retired as an electrician from Cyprus Mine with over 30 years of service. In 1985, he proudly joined the Air National Guard. He was deployed to locations such as Puerto Rico, Guam, and Korea. Serving as an electrician technician with the 161st Air Refueling Group, known as CopperHeads, he earned various Air Force Achievement medals, including the Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal. Manny was affectionately known as “Sergeant Rock.” Through his time in the services, he made lifelong friendships and relished the camaraderie long after retiring in 1993.

A devoted Catholic, Manuel served Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Church in many ways including laying the pavers and building the waterfall in the church courtyard. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and served as Grand Knight. Manuel was a hard-working handyman and enjoyed fixing things. He volunteered to help build the gazebo in the park for the Town of Miami and also served as a council member. His family will never forget his unique sense of humor, funny anecdotes, and hotcake breakfasts. Throughout his life, he loved traveling, camping, and fishing in the White Mountains of Arizona. He enjoyed rooting for University of Arizona sports and listening to Mexican music. Spending time with family was important to him; he preferred to gather over a meal, and he made sure to savor every bite.

Manuel is survived by his wife Lena; children Michael (Alice) Tena, Anna Spencer, Lillian (Dain) Smitch, Johnny Tena and Stephanie Tena; his sister Cecilia (Vincent) Tedeschi; 7 grandchildren, David Tena, Evan Smitch, Eric Smitch, Xavier Alvarez, Julie Montoya, Justine Tena and Jacob Tena; 13 great-grandchildren; and 3 great-great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, and his sister Vera Lobato and brother Raul Tena.

Services took place on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024: Visitation 9 a.m. Rosary: 9:30 a.m. and Mass of Christian Burial 10 a.m. at Our Lady of The Blessed Sacrament in Miami, Arizona. Interment was held following the Mass at Mt. Breeze Memorial Gardens in Miami, with full military honors. A reception at the church followed the graveside services.

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Family is being assisted by Bulman Miles Funeral Services Globe.