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Diverse lives, one tragic link

A popular teacher, a much-admired boss, an 'awesome' mother and more. . . . In coming days, The Times will continue to profile the victims of the crash.

September 14, 2008|Susannah Rosenblatt

Yoga instructor

On Friday afternoon, Manuel Macias missed his train. The 31-year-old yoga instructor from Santa Paula called his aunt and told her that he would be taking the 3:50 p.m. train instead. He said he should be home soon.

On Saturday, his family struggled to comprehend the loss of their upbeat son and brother, a sweet-natured yoga teacher to the elderly, blind, multiple sclerosis patients and many others.

"He was a really giving person," said his older sister, Melissa Grisales.

She said he balanced her. She was all business; he was the free spirit. She would help him with money matters; he would look for fun.

Macias was a great cook, and the designated rice-maker at family events. Sometimes Macias' brother-in-law would tease the Marine-turned-yoga-teacher, calling him a hippie.

That individuality is something his sister loved about him: "He lived under his own rules . . . . I wished I was as strong as he was."

Macias used to care for his toddler nephew, bringing him to the park for exercise. Health-conscious, Macias taught yoga most days and worked out most nights. But he also liked to kick back with friends.

On Monday, he was scheduled to take five senior citizens on an excursion to Santa Barbara, Grisales said.

"Anyone he came in contact with, he touched them in some way or another, always positive," she said. "He really knew how to live life, really knew how to have fun. I always admired him for that."

Macias is survived by his mother, Cynthia Macias; his sister; his brother-in-law Jackson Grisales; two nephews, Jason and Marcus Grisales; and many other family members and friends.

-- Susannah Rosenblatt

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