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Honoring memory of faithful Mantecan
Fagundes cared for museum flag, rarely missed prep sporting events
Harold Hodge and Tom Liggett raise the flag donated by the American Legion in honor of Wally Fagundes. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT
Wally Fagundes without fail for years walked across the street from his Yosemite Avenue home and took down the flag in front of the Manteca Museum in the evening and returned to raise it the next morning.

The late Fagundes also enjoyed attending many of Manteca’s sporting events.

At first, it was Manteca High, the place where he graduated back in 1936. Over the years, Fagundes never missed a game and, on occasions, even rode the school bus with the team to out-of-town games.

But it became increasingly tougher to catch sporting events once Fagundes and his bleacher section of friends otherwise known as the “Old Geezers” began adding East Union High, Sierra High, and even Weston Ranch High to the list, according to Rocky Wilson.

“Those in the ‘Old Geezers’ section were either bald or gray haired,” he recalled. “I had to dye my hair to join the group.”

As historian of the Manteca American Legion, he paid tribute to his friend at Friday afternoon’s dedication ceremony held in front of the Manteca Historical Society Museum.

Among those attending were relatives, friends, and fellow veterans of Fagundes.
 “Wally seemed to have known everybody by name,” Wilson said.

At sporting events, Fagundes could rattle off 80 years of history about Manteca. But ask him about the final score?

“He would say, ‘we can read about it in the morning newspaper,’” Wilson fondly remembered.

 Fagundes, who died a year ago, was a World War II veteran and charter member of the historical society.

He died a few days shy of his 90th birthday.

As a tribute to his memory, the local American Legion donated the stars and stripes for the Manteca Historical Society Museum flag pole.
An active Legion member for the past 62 years, Fagundes lived directly across the street from the museum and was known as the “keeper of the flag” for his many years of tending to Old Glory.

“When the time comes we’ll also replace the flag in his memory,” Wilson said.
In addition, a dedication plaque in honor of Wally Fagundes was unveiled, and can be found between the Tony Cabral and Joshua Cowell memorials.

 “There’s just so much respect and love for Uncle Wally,” said Bob Smith, a nephew of Fagundes.