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February 3, 2014

City honors Manuel’s 90th birthday

ORANGE — A family searched for a way to honor and give thanks to a woman who instilled Christian values in their lives.

Estelle Williams, daughter of Levell Manuel, submitted a proclamation to the city asking Saturday, February 8, 2014 to be proclaim as Mrs. Manuel Day in honor of her 90th birthday. The council approved the proclamation during the Thursday meeting.

“She has been a wonderful mother, rearing us and into adulthood,” Estelle said. “She instilled faith based values into us early in childhood.”

Estelle described how her father would be at the head of the bed, with Levell next to him, followed by each child by age circled around to pray before attending church each Sunday.

“We got everything bad out of us before we got to church,” Estelle said with a laugh. “It added to the services.”

Levell attended a cooking school once located on Green Ave. in Orange which gave her the skills needed to work at Bingle Cafe. She left the position in 1966 when her youngest of 7 children graduated from high school. Her husband, Ezekiel, thanked her for her help and expressed he never wanted her to work again according to the proclamation.

“Now she tells us what dish to bring on Thanksgiving,” Estelle said. “She is still a taxi for her friends and once a month, with her driving over the Rainbow Bridge, they go to The Boudain Hut for their boudin.”

Levell has 24 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.

Aaron Parker, 6, of Beaumont, was present during the proclamation.

“She’s the best,” Aaron said with a smile. “I’m her waiter. I get to take the food to her now.”

Levell’s son, Tommy Manuel, a minister in Huntsville, Texas, said he thought of his mother as pioneering at an early age.

“They thought enough of us before we were even born to move to Texas,” Tommy said. “They were looking for opportunities for their children. They came here with little to nothing to establish a home. I appreciate the Christian values and principles instilled in us and the work ethics she taught us. We were taught that all people are the same. No color. No financial status.”

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