Manuel Diaz, age 78, of Elgin, IL, a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend, passed away peacefully on Saturday, July 22, 2023, at his home surrounded by family. After an abrupt diagnosis and progression of Acute Myelogenous Leukemia during a brief hospitalization, Manuel opted to spend his final days at home, lovingly cared for by his wife, children, and their spouses and receiving love from his five granddaughters who had become the light of his life. He was born on August 2, 1944, in Uriangato, Guanajuato, Mexico, the son of Jose Diaz and Josefina Malagon. Together with his parents, brother, and sister he immigrated to join extended family in Elgin in 1959, becoming a proud member of the local community, while simultaneously maintaining enduring ties to his hometown in Mexico. Manuel enlisted in the United States Army in 1965 and served in Germany during the Vietnam War era. This life experience deepened both his connection to his adopted county and his love of driving, as he served as a military postal driver delivering mail to U.S. Army bases and connecting service members to correspondence from loved ones and necessary supplies. He also explored Europe by car while on leave in a voyage that would remain a cherished memory for the remainder of his life and that was a basis for encouraging his children to learn about and travel the wider world. After returning home to Elgin from the service, Manuel married his hometown sweetheart, Beatriz Zamudio, in Uriangato, Guanajuato on July 14, 1974. Celebrating their 49th anniversary in the home where they raised their children was a final wish that his family was able to fulfill following his AML diagnosis. Manuel was educated and skilled in the trade of Tool & Die Making and worked tirelessly for over 40 years at Chicago Rawhide (C.R. Industries/SKF) to provide for his family, ensuring that his wife, and especially his children, would have a solid foundation from which to pursue their educations and their dreams. Meanwhile, he served as a guide, support, and friend to countless family members and friends navigating their own immigration stories and to visiting family and friends, many of whom he introduced not only to Elgin and Chicago, but to many cities and sights across the U.S., Mexico, and Canada on delightful, music-filled road trips. Manuel is survived by his wife, Beatriz Diaz of Elgin, his children, Beatriz A. Diaz-Pollack and husband, Joel Pollack of Elgin and Manuel J. Diaz and wife, Jessica of Denver, CO; five granddaughters, Magdalena Esther & Guadalupe “Lupita” Sara Pollack of Elgin and Esme Isabel, Maria-Ines Constance, and Alma Grace of Denver; sister, Maria S. Aviña and her husband, Gonzalo, and sister-in-law, Virginia Diaz (husband, Jose Luis, deceased), all of Elgin, and siblings-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, godchildren, and friends across the U.S. and in Mexico. He is preceded in death by his parents, his brother, and many other family members and friends with whom we trust he has now been joyfully reunited. Arrangements were entrusted to O’Connor-Leetz Funeral Home, 364 Division Street, Elgin, IL.The visitation will be from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 27th at the funeral home. A funeral mass will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, July 28th at St. Laurence Catholic Church, 225 Jewett Street, Elgin, IL, officiated by Frs. Andrew Mulcahey and Robert Camacho.  

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