There’s no better or fitting tribute to my dear fiancé “Manny,” a professed geek with a love of all things with the words “star,” “space”, and “aliens,” than a celestial journey into space.
Manuel “Manny” Argimiro Vazquez was born on August 24, 1963 in Holguin, Cuba. He was the oldest of three sons born to Manuel & Aleida Vazquez. He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1971 through the Cuban Freedom Flights. With his family losing their home and businesses, the Vazquezes were eager to restart their lives in Miami, Florida. Growing up, Manny loved to draw comic book characters, loved Star Wars and Star Trek, and tinkered with computers and electronic equipment. He eventually graduated from Florida International University with a degree in Fine Arts and was particularly impressive at designing logos and painting Christmas ornaments for family and friends.
I’m very fortunate and grateful to have been loved by Manny for the past three years. Manny was one of those rare people that made you smile when they come into a room and sad when they leave. He was easy-going, positive, and very loving. When his dad passed away, Manny looked after his mom and devoted his life to her, looking after her, even when she became terminally ill. He didn’t have a social life for a long time but Manny wouldn’t have it any other way. In the last two years, Manny made up for some lost times. We travelled throughout Florida - from eating gelato in the Keys, viewing the manatees at Homosassa Springs, enjoying the white sandy beach in Siesta, chartering a biplane over Cedar Key, to visiting the Space Center in Cape Canaveral twice - a dream come true for him! We often spent the holidays with my family in the Tampa area. Manny was always eager to try something new and finally tasted a fried turkey on Thanksgiving 2014!
Manny and I had many plans for the future. He was hitting his stride professionally as an IT specialist and felt 2016 was a good time to finally get married. Unfortunately, on September 25, 2015, Manny suffered a fatal heart attack, despite never having a known heart problem. It was the saddest day for me, our families, friends and colleagues. He will always be a part of my life and when I look up in the night sky, I know that he’d be smiling along with me knowing that he got his wish and went to outer space.