In a move that at the time was considered bold and pioneering because WW2 was so fresh in everyone's mind, Manuel accepted a teaching assignment on American bases in Germany and France. It was in Europe that Manuel established many lifelong friendships including that to a fellow teacher, a US-educated German girl named Helga, who became his future wife.
While finishing out their teaching contracts at the Mainz American installation, Manuel and Helga traveled extensively in Europe. And on June 6, 1957, they married in St. Quentin church in Mainz, Germany.
Soon after their wedding and with limited funds, Manuel & Helga bought a Ford Fairlane 500 Convertible from within Germany which they flew to New York to pick up and drive across the country to Los Angeles. In crossing the country, the newlyweds visited and stayed with a few dear friends whom Manuel had met while teaching and in the military.
Upon arriving in Los Angeles, Manuel's father Jesus met his son and new daughter in-law with a backyard reception that included many friends and family. With a new teaching job and Helga on her way to earning her teaching credential at USC, the couple gave birth to their first son, Marcus, on June 24, 1958, while living in a Gardena apartment. With both parents teaching, they gave birth to their second son, Andre, on December 8, 1960, and also bought their first house on Wilton Place, in the city of Gardena. It was around this time that Manuel completed his Master of Arts degree at USC, and Helga taught full-time in LA city schools mostly in Watts, Inglewood, and Gardena.
In 1964, Manuel accepted the position of full-time professor of art at Cerritos College in Norwalk. And in 1966, the 4-member family moved to the Orange County suburb of Tustin. The first few years of life in the OC saw Helga take the boys to Germany to meet their Deutsch relatives, and Manuel began his avocational career as a summertime leader of European art and history tours. In 1969, a fifth addition of the family arrived, in the form of a daughter, Marita Carina.
On a research sabbatical in the spring and summer of 1975, Manuel & Helga gathered the family and bravely embarked on a 6-month tour of 12 European countries. In a small VW van, the family traversed central European hotels, pensions, campgrounds, castles, churches, cathedrals, mountains, meadows, museums, and beaches. To contain costs, they stayed in campgrounds, convents, and small apartments. Manuel took hundreds of slide photos of significant art works and structures. The launching pad of their adventures was Helga's brother's home outside of Mainz, Germany, where they were so graciously welcomed and visited by Helga's extended family. At the conclusion of this trip, the family drove the VW bus to Rotterdam, Holland, where they shipped it home to the Los Angeles Harbor.
Throughout the 70's and 80's, Manuel continued teaching at Cerritos College, and conducting European art tours, sometimes with family members in tow. Manuel also built a studio addition to the family home, where he worked with fellow artists, students, and models on weekends & holidays, creating much of the art enjoyed by so many, some of which appears on this website. In 1991, after 35 years, Manuel retired from his Cerritos College position with a grand party at a Norwalk area restaurant, which was attended by nearly 100 family members, friends, and students spanning 4 decades of college and K-12 teaching.
In 1998, leaving the Tustin house with a lifetime of memories, Manuel & Helga moved to the active retirement community of Saddlebrooke, Arizona. Manuel and Helga has since twice returned to Germany, and made several trips to the US east coast, the interior of Mexico, and several other domestic destinations.
On January 11, 2011, an eternal gift arrived in the form of a grandchild, Liesl De Leon Flaxenburg, given birth by their daughter Marita and their son-in-law Noah. And in 2018, Manuel became a grandparent again when Marita and Noah adopted another daughter, Mila Strube Flaxenburg. On December 6, 2019, Manuel entered the LA Coliseum tunnel for the last time, and joined his parents and siblings in heaven.