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Honorable Manuel Real Obituary

Honorable Manuel L. Real
Honorable Manuel L. Real

January 27, 1924 - June 26, 2019
Born in San Pedro, California
Resided in Rancho Palos Verdes, California
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Judge Manuel L. Real, age 95, passed away at home on June 26, 2019 surrounded by the love of his family. He was the longest active serving Federal Judge in the United States (52 years) and continued to do the work he loved until a short time before his final illness.

Manuel Real was born in San Pedro, CA to Francisco and Maria Real, had an older brother, John, and a twin brother, Emil. Manuel attended San Pedro High School and USC. He was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and continued to have monthly lunches with Sigma Chi brothers. He served in the U.S. Navy at the end of WWII and was released to inactive duty as Ret. Res. Lt. He attended Loyola Law School and was admitted to the California Bar in 1953. Manuel’s legal career spanned over 60 years - as Assistant U.S. Attorney, in private practice, then as U.S. Attorney. In 1966, he was appointed to the newly formed Central District of California of the United States District Court, by President Lyndon B. Johnson during which he served as Chief Judge for 11 years for his “court family.” He believed in a fair and speedy trial and often kept late courtroom hours if he felt a jury was close to a decision and the trial could be finished. He expected those in his courtroom to be professional and well prepared and he mentored his law clerks as they commuted to work together daily. His staff and colleagues were like family and he respected and loved them. Judge Real believed in rehabilitation, not just punishment, and was known to give innovative sentences prior to the mandatory sentencing; such as sending a doctor to provide care for a reservation instead of taking his/her license/career away. He took the time to meet personally with parolees to help them keep on track to a better life.

Judge Real shared his passion for the law with students and lawyers in courses, on panels and as judge in moot court competitions. He traveled internationally to help enhance democratic opportunities in South America, Eastern Europe, Russia and Mongolia by meeting with judges, lawyers, law students and government officials through programs with the State Dept, Dept. of Justice and the American Bar Association. He shared his time, expertise, wisdom and caring with so many. He received numerous awards including being knighted by King Juan Carlos 1 of Spain with the Order of Queen Isabella the Catholic with the Rank of Officer’s Cross in 2001.

Manuel L. Real Elementary School in Perris, CA was named after Judge Real due to his efforts to create the Val Verde School District. He participated annually in the school’s Read Across America Day as Principal for a Day, reading to the children. He loved kids and was always happy with a lap full of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Manuel taught his family values by being honest, kind, accepting of all, full of integrity, and having the courage to do what he felt was right, even if not popular. He enjoyed working in his extensive garden and watching USC Trojan football games. His humility was his greatest asset and his love towards his family was his greatest gift. He was so proud of his hometown, San Pedro, which he affectionally referred to as “God’s Country” and he was a devoted, loving, and generous husband, father, brother and friend.

In 1955, Manuel married Stella Michalik and they had four children - Michael, Melanie, Timothy and Jay. They were married for 37 years until her death in 1994. In 1999, he reconnected with Tao Sykes, his love from his youth, and they married in 2000. He is survived by his wife, children, 9 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.

Memorial Services will be held at Holy Trinity Church in San Pedro, CA on July 16, 2019 at 1:00pm. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Manuel L. Real Elementary School, care of Manuel L Real PTO 19150 Clark Street, Perris, CA 92570 in Perris, CA or the Sisters of Charity of Rolling Hills, 28600 Palos Verdes Dr. East, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275.




Holy Trinity Catholic Church
1280 W. Santa Cruz Street
San Pedro, CA US 90732
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
1:00 PM