“My Fighting Grandpa”
by Leonard Manning (age 8)
because they are hard and tough.
It makes me think
of my grandpa.
He fights when it is rough.
I don’t know what to feel.
But I know
it is tough.
Robert William George “Bob” Manning left us and went to be with his Lord and Savior on Monday, March 7th He departed peacefully and surrounded by his family, who already miss him and his sense of humor deeply.
Bob had a personality that was too big and too bright to do justice in capturing on a page. He relished being in the center of a situation and the center of attention- he loved to make people laugh. He also loved music, God, the Broncos, his family (and making sure they were cared for), and sharing his opinion. Strong-willed and fiercely determined, he was a true beacon to the people lucky enough to be in his communities. He was seemingly always in the process of creating new communities to add to those in which he was already extremely involved, a feat he accomplished through constant conversation with new people, whom he was always interested in knowing (a euphemistic way to say that he never stopped talking).
Above all, though, Bob was a dogged fighter, a hard worker, and the toughest person any of us have known. He was born on February 6th, 1957 in Prairie Grove, Arkansas, to Robert Douglas Manning and Margaret Eilleen Manning, both of whom have preceded Bob in going to God. Bob fought extremely hard for his education- he studied constantly and worked his way through college at a pizza restaurant, eventually graduating from the University of Arkansas (Woo Pig Sooie!), where he was recognized Summa Cum Laude, was a member of Theta Tau, and received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering. A member of the Eta Kappa Nu society of IEEE and the Arkansas Academy of Electrical Engineers, he worked very hard and had a distinguished career. He was proud of his numerous accomplishments and patents, including helping to design and patent the first USB controller.
His work ethic extended to his faith as well; he helped start and organize a new church congregation (Wilson United Methodist) where he served as the volunteer music director, building chairperson, and administrative council chairperson. He eventually took over as the music director of Tri Lakes United Methodist, where he has remained a devoted member for more than 25 years. His faith also compelled him to give back: he worked intensely as a member of the Lewis-Palmer School Board for 8 years. He also fought to start–from scratch–Tri Lakes Music Association, a non-profit organization that helps spread the love of music and provides professional-quality choral and orchestral music in our community.
Most importantly, he fought determinedly and profoundly for the love of his life,Anita Beth Manning (nee Patton). A beautiful and intelligent young woman, she captured Bob’s attention from the very moment he met her at his church’s choir. Although he was younger than her, Bob fought for her attention, going so far as to send requests for dates in eye-catching containers like a paint can and even a mannequin’s head. As you may have guessed, his efforts succeeded, and he and his best friend, Anita, were married in August of 1978. Among the wedding party were the siblings (by birth and by marriage) that Bob loved very much and is survived by: Margaret Poeppel (Wolfgang) and family of Augsburg, Germany, John Manning of Bentonville, Arkansas, Dorothy Ivey (Greg) of Gentry, Arkansas, and Keith Patton (Mary) and family of Centennial, CO. The lovebirds moved to (and never left) Colorado Springs in 1980, and worked very hard to provide a wonderful life for each other and for their two sons,Chris and Matt. Unfortunately, Bob was called to fight a chronic illness and its side effects for over half of his life, a battle in which Anita provided unyielding and limitless support, aid, and love. Also in support were his surviving extended family in Seattle (including his Aunt Dorothy Fidler), Canada, and Germany. After his grim diagnosis, Bob initially feared he would not be able to see his sons graduate high school. However, he fought long enough and hard enough to not only see his sons graduate college, but to get married (Chris to Amber; Matt to Renee) and to love his two grandsons, Jack (11) and Leonard (8). Bob is survived by all this family , who love him now and always.
Bob will be remembered with a memorial service at Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church (20256 Hunting Downs Way in Monument) on March 26that 2:00 (visitation at 1:00). Flowers may be sent to Swan Law Funeral Home (501 Cascade Avenue in Colorado Springs). For those who would prefer to honor Bob with a donation instead, the family suggests donations to Tri-Lakes Music Association or the Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research, and also that you take an extra deep breath and share hugs with those whom you love.