BEVERLY — Manuel “Manny” Ignacio Jr., 96, husband of the late Cecile (Jacques) Ignacio, died peacefully on Sunday morning, March 9, 2014, at Masconomet Healthcare Center in Topsfield.
Born in Peabody, he was the son of the late Manuel and Lenor (Bettencourt) Ignacio, and brother of the late Mary Enos of Gloucester. He was a lifelong communicant of St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in Beverly.
At the age of 4, he returned with his family to their ancestral home in the Azores, where he spent several years before returning to Peabody to complete his grammar and high school education. He graduated from Peabody High School in 1938. While in the Azores, he mastered the Portuguese language, enabling him to become a radio announcer and singer for the Portuguese Friends weekly program on radio station WESX in Salem before World War II.
In the late 1930s, Manny was a talented bass fiddle player much in demand at Boston area clubs. While he enjoyed many stints playing with big-name bands touring the Northeast, he sought steadier employment and joined Sylvania Electric Products at its Loring Avenue facility in 1940.
When the United States entered World War II, Manny joined the United States Coast Guard in 1942, and shipped out to the Pacific Theater in L.S.T. 763. He saw action at Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Saipan, the Philippines, and finally at Japan itself. Although he rarely chose to discuss the horror and devastation he witnessed firsthand, Manny shared with his family his deep feelings of admiration and respect that he held for those American troops he helped ferry ashore and into battle during amphibious landings under enemy fire.
After he was honorably discharged in February 1946, Manny returned to Sylvania. He continued to play the bass fiddle with local groups, at weddings and other special occasions. Always ready to participate in any music scene, Manny also enjoyed performing in the annual Sylvania minstrel shows.