Manuel "Duke" Faria Picanso Jr.

January 12, 1953April 9, 2018

Manuel “Duke” F. Picanso, Jr. On Monday, April 9th, 2018 Duke Picanso passed away unexpectedly in his sleep at the age of 65.

Duke was born to Gloria and Manuel F. Picanso, Sr. in Bakersfield, California. In 1982 he married Cindee Tenhaeff. They were married until her passing in 2011. The last two years of his life were spent married to Christine Smith. In passing, Duke is survived by his wife Christine Smith, two step sons Curtis and Cody Smith. Brothers Richard Costa (Joni) and John Picanso (Renee). Numerous brother and sister in laws, nieces, nephews and cousins from the families: Picanso, Costa, Bunn, Bonfig, Rapp and Tenhaeff surrounded Duke with love and family involvement. Other lifelong extended family members: Helen Bunn Hallett (Byron), Ed Crye (Bernadette), David Crye and Cara Crye.

Duke worked on his grandfather’s dairy in Bakersfield throughout his childhood. He grew so fast he was nicknamed “Duke” by his Grandpa Costa. This name stuck throughout his lifetime. He attended K-12 in Tulare, and took classes at College of the Sequoias his senior year in high school. After graduating high school he began his colorful life as a cowboy on the Hearst Ranch. He also worked for the Templeton Feedlot sales yard, the Giannini family, the Wixom family, The Breakers, Dutch’s Griddle House, SLOCO Fed Beef, and Jordano’s Pacific Beverage Company. He drove trucks for Wixom, Ed Crye and Son, and Cattaneo Garbage Company. Duke worked for CalTrans for 27 years which included a 10 year stint in Truckee where he obtained supervisor status. He retired in 2016 as a CalTrans TET Lab Manager.

Cooking was also a passion of Duke’s throughout his life. His passion for cooking and collecting recipe books developed while working off-hours with his late father-in-law Dutch Tenhaeff. He could always be found volunteering to bbq at different social events. Duke was also a voracious reader, especially biographies and history. He had a mind like a vault and could recite facts about mob leaders to generals to various men who built America. Historical war strategies and the genealogical history of friends and family were other another favorite topic.

Duke was an “Old Soul” who loved his 50’s music... singing and rocking while driving. Often serenading Christine with 50’s hits or annoying his friends while chauffeuring until he turned the station back to country music. He enjoyed watching old movies and NASCAR.

Duke was always active in his community as a member of the Portuguese Holy Spirit Society of San Luis Obispo, Caballeros of San Luis Obispo, Elks Lodge SLO and Moose Lodge Atascadero.

Duke has gone to be with his Lord and Savior and will be forever missed, yet always remembered for bringing joy, laughter and colorful stories into all our lives. In memory of Duke, donations can be made to your choice of the many foundations he believed in and contributed to: Cal Poly Rodeo, Gary Sinise Foundation, St. Jude’s or Cancer Institute, Alley Cat’s or Woods Humane- North County.

Please join us to celebrate Duke’s life at Trinity Hall, 6565 Edna Road, San Luis Obispo on Saturday, May 12th at 2:00pm to share stories and enjoy a BBQ with friends and family.


Manuel "Duke" Faria Picanso Jr.

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