Antoinette “Toni” Marie Manley was born and raised in Watts CA by a single mother with her four sisters. It was in Watts that she met her soulmate and started a family. Already having one child, she had four more children with him before his passing and she mourned him until the day of her own passing. Toni did not end her journey there; she was blessed with four additional children after the death of her soulmate, and raised her nine children as a single mother.
Toni was a hard working single mother who dedicated her life caring for others. She especially loved children and pursued a higher education in child development and education. Although she did not earn a degree, she was never deterred from living her dream of working with children. She did however earn certifications that contributed to her work.
Toni spent her life working with children in various daycares and after school programs/clubs throughout Los Angeles and Riverside County. She spent many years working for Olive Crest in Riverside County and Starview in Los Angeles County supporting parents and working with children with behavioral and mental health issues. She retired in 2015.
Toni ‘s love for people did not end with the work day as she loved and supported people in her personal life as well. This was evident in her taking care of the elderly individuals in the nursing home where she herself was a patient and dealing with her own deteriorating health.
Toni will forever live on in the heart of her nine children, Antonio, Sha’von, Ronnie, Ronnette, Selena, Cynthia, Demario, Patrick, and Kolea. As well as her 22 grandchildren, Dwayne Brandon, Davion, Ronnie III, Joleah, Zaymorie, Lee’lonnie, Deshawn, Kemani, Zekhi, Jaxson, Kevon, Shawn, Caillou, Kamili, Alex, King, Jaycion, Xavionna, Xaonna, Bentley, and Xavier Jr.
Additionally, her four sisters, Donna Massaquoi, Elizabeth Ann Davis, Veronica Queenland Peterson, and Melinda Gbakamara survive Toni. Also, one Aunt Lenae Manley. Additionally, her brother in-laws, Anthony McKnight, Lonnie McKnight, and John Peterson and one sister in-law Lillie McKnight.
Her nieces, Michelle, Channel, Tamara, Tijerra, Ebonnie and one nephew, Johnnel, also survive Toni.
Toni was preceded in death by her mother, Trudi Normani, uncles, Lawrence Manley and Arnold Manley, soulmate, Ronnie McKnight, mother-in-law, Beatrice McKnight, father-in-law, John McKnight Jr., two brother-in-laws, Johnny McKnight and John McKnight Jr.
Toni will be survived by many others as her definition of family went beyond biology as she was referred to as “Momma Toni” as well. She will forever be missed by her extended daughter Patricia Little and her children, DeAnthony, DeAisha, Dalana, Kason Jr, Kadon, Kamyah. Her step grandchildren, Mikayla, Kamaya, Alexsis, Alexandria, and David.
Toni’s family does not end there and there are many other extended family and friends that will always carry her in their heart. Toni’s presence on this earth was remarkable and her loss is one of great sorrow. She will be missed.
Our mother the center of our universe
Queen of our orbit
Bringing us into the world with incredible strength
She made many sacrifices
Endure so much in her life to ensure her strength was instilled in her children
Our mother never claimed to be perfect
Nor did she seek to reach perfection
Instead striving to be a person full of humility and love
She exhibited a magnificent power throughout her life
Conquering odds, others would deem unbeatable
Breaking barriers, jumping hurdles, climbing mountains to succeed as a woman and mother in a world full of individuals that constantly counted her out
She never allowed downfalls and struggles to define her in any way
Instead somehow finding the energy to rise up fight battled and continue moving forward against all disparities
Our mother was truly an angle walking amongst us
She cared for all those she was blessed to encounter and loving all unconditionally as the Lord intended
She was a woman that illuminated a light that shines bright
She exuberates a love indescribable
Her presence here is forever
Her impact everlasting
She will be greatly missed by all
Mom, it's so hard waking up and living in a world without you every day. You raised me to be strong, independent, and to take care of my brothers and sisters at all times, but without you, I am finding this to be a difficult task. Guess I was not prepared for the day that I would have to be strong and lead without you here to be the anchor. I am so thankful you raised us a unit and to support one another because my sisters and brothers are the only reason I still find strength to get through the day. It also brings me peace knowing you are at peace and your heart is truly at rest as you are reunited with your soulmate. Your presence will forever be missed and I love you so much. Sha'von McKnight
OUR QUEEN LEGACY
Mom you had:
Inspired me in the
Nicest way although we thought it was
Enough but we are very
Thankful we got to
Moments of your
Achievements, so we will continue your
Resilience and with
Improvements I hope you
Appreciate your life by being
Living to Empower your name. So
Yes, I accept the challenge of keeping your legacy alive.
ANTOINETTE MARIE MANLEY
I really don’t know what to say but you were the best mom ever. You were always there for us and always told us to stay out of trouble. I would have never thought I would be writing this message so soon. I love you so much. Hugs and kisses forever and ever. Your girl Cynthia
To my beloved mother whom I love so dearly. We have come a long way and been through so much in life. I never would have thought you would be gone this soon, and I am not going to lie, sometimes I feel like giving up and being with you or releasing this anger on somebody, but I know that is the last thing you would have wanted because we were just talking about me doing my best to get out of here and progressing in life. The ultimate thing that you did teach me though was to be strong no matter what we go through. Remember when we were homeless sleeping in our van, one night you told me “if God gets us through this then he will get us through anything so keep praying.” I know you see me crying right now. I am trying to trigger my mind to refuse to believe that this is even true, but not being able to call and hear your voice makes it so real. I wish I could say more but I love you Antoinette and I wouldn’t change the time we had, good or bad, for nothing. You are another good heart at peace. Love Demario Mosley.
Hey mom, I don't know how to start nor where to finish this letter. This is the hardest thing I've ever had to go through, especially while I am here. Without you, here there is nothing but pain in my life. I am sleepless, breathless, and hopeless and I need you here. You being gone is a cut that can never be healed. You know you were my first real friend when I was younger and I used to stick to your leg like glue, yea Ima real Mommas boy, and it’s crazy you really had to run from me because you knew if you told me no I couldn’t go I would have started crying. I was a crybaby always by your side. I had the best of both mom and dad and I could talk to you about anything and I can still hear you saying “your kids are your only friends, always put your family first Patrick.” That was the last advice you gave me and I want to thank you for being the best mom ever. You always held me down through whatever situation and I’m sorry for all the things I put you through from a child until now, even though you didn’t raise me to be the man I became, you still supported me without judgement and when everybody left me you were always by my side no matter what. You always kept it real with me and I used to call you and we could talk for hours about everything, things I’ve never told anyone, and all of my secrets were safe with you. Now that important part of my life is missing and it's like I’m that crybaby little boy all over again. I cry every night for you to come back because I wasn’t ready for this to happen and I need you momma. I hate that you're gone and it's killing me that I am not there for you how you’ve always been there for me. You have always told me to keep my faith in God, and believe me when I say, I try but it seems like God keeps taking everything from me. Yesterday is gone, but this morning, Ii still have sadness left in me and tomorrow may never come because I am stuck in yesterday. I will always love and miss you old lady love always your son,
Patrick lee Brunson Jr.
A letter to heaven …I never fully understood what the words “I miss you “meant until I reached for your hand and it wasn’t reaching back. I miss you every day, Mom, and I pray you are able to see my accomplishments and even my sorrows. To feel that you are still present in my life and supporting me from Heaven helps. You were always my biggest supporter, my queen, and I was your babygirl no matter what. You were the first to teach me the concept of unconditional love even when others became my enemy. You still encouraged me to “let God handle them “but to never carry hate, which is the best gift you gave me in life. You guided and equipped me in order for me to be a better mother, which I am today. You showed me and I've watched you always be independent, even when the devil was busy, you overcame every obstacle he thought he overpowered you with. I love you and hope I will continue to make you proud as I celebrate your life and honor you by being the very best me that I can be. Sometimes, I wish you can come back physically, but I don’t want you to suffer again. I know you are with me and my sisters and brothers and for that, I will be at peace with you knowing God will take care of the rest.
Sincerely, your baby girl Kolea B
Healing is a journey, unfortunately it is a never ending journey, but with the love, support, and prayers we receive from everyone, it makes the journey bearable, so we thank you all that have been a helping hand for us all doing this journey. Our mom touched many people’s lives so we know we are not on this journey alone and we all have to offer love and support for one another.
Antonio Boyce II
Ronnie McKnight II
Levi Watson II
Patrick Brunson II