Raymond William Manning
Chicago, Illinois August 31, 1949
Hummelstown, Pennsylvania January 5, 2018
An accurate account of one of Ray’s greatest interests, throughout his life, was his obsession with the musical rock group, “The Who.” A drummer himself, with local rock bands in Chicago, during his teenage years in the 1960s, Ray loved everything about The Who. One of their songs, “Who Are You?” instinctively came to mind, when thinking about Ray. Why? Because, from the moment you met Ray, you knew exactly who he was and he remained that same person throughout his entire life.
In his many roles as son, husband, father, brother, cousin, uncle, neighbor, boss, co-worker he was exactly who he seemed. A simple mix of quiet honesty, contemplative, yet with a zany, comedic side, always looking for the punch line, dependable, humble, frugal, hard-to-resist-a-couponer, creative and divergent thinker, extreme hard-worker, apolitical, supportive, helpful, mindful, thoughtful, sincere and loving. It is actually impossible to capture all the descriptors that portray Ray Manning.
To be able to give to others, Ray never found the need to join a church or an organization, because he lived every day, of his entire life, in service to others. His family, his neighbors, his friends, his co-workers, and strangers were all those who could find themselves in his sphere of helpfulness at any given moment. He constantly shared, with those close to him, his engineering knowledge and skills that far exceeded his formal education. One of his favorite activities was figuring out the puzzle of how to make something work again and then being able to share what he had learned by fixing things for others. Machinery, plumbing, electrical, heating, construction, name it and Ray either knew what to do already or would research how and then execute what needed to be done.
In the 1970’s, Ray’s career with the Chicago YMCA, began at Camp Hastings resident camp working summers in the horse barn, giving riding lessons to campers and caring for the horses. Winters found him serving as a lifeguard at several YMCAs around the Chicago metro area. After college he went on to become a Y program director in Palatine directing summer camps and running the Indian Guides and Princesses programs. He was known for his unforgettable “magic fires” during Guides and Princesses annual winter” Pow-Wows.”
After his career at the Y, Ray began a 38 year career in the lawn care industry, as a branch manager for Chemlawn in Chicago, Phoenixville, Pa., Hartford, Conn., Poughkeepsie, NY., and Lancaster, PA. Later he managed a Spring Green branch in Mechanicsburg and retired from Scotts Lawn Care in Middletown, PA., in 2014.
In 1993 Ray also co-founded with his wife, Bonnie, Children’s House of Hershey, a Montessori preschool, helping Bonnie, as he often did, but this time to realize her life’s dream. Begun first in their home, Children’s House moved into its permanent home, a 112 year-old enlarged one-room schoolhouse in 1998. The projects there were and are never-ending, often requiring Ray’s broad knowledge base and strong back, along with extra help, from time to time, from their two children, Callie and Ian.
In retirement Ray thought he would travel, fish often and relax more. However, the house and schoolhouse projects continued and he managed to accomplish much in those 3+ years, at a more leisurely pace. During those years he and Bonnie did find more time to travel, visiting family in Chicago more frequently, multiple trips to Miami each year to visit Callie and her husband, Didier, where Ray and Bonnie attended more ballets than they could ever count! Ray also happily maintained his bi-weekly trips to his favorite Harrisburg bargain-hunting venue, Ollie’s; and he and Bonnie surprisingly discovered they enjoyed cruising more than camping!
With his passing, Ray would be astonished to know how much he was revered and is missed by so many. Quiet men, with great humility, often are. His wife Bonnie feels very lucky to have found and shared her life with such a remarkable person. She is grateful for the wonderful life they built together over more than 42 years of marriage. He was her right hand in everything they did and it will be difficult for her to learn how to use only her left from now on. Ray’s children, Callie and Ian, are grateful for the example he set; all he taught them and for his quiet love, support and resolve in everything they have chosen to do in their own life journeys.
His grandson, Lucien Ryland Bramaz, who knew him only briefly, will learn to know him better through Us . . . his family . . . Bonnie, Callie, Ian, Didier, Lindsey, Gregg, Donna, Kelsey, Joe, Ryan, Brandy, Rick, Barb, Matt, Siobahn, Randy, Joni, John, Tami, Tyler, Brian, Magan, Cale, Dennis, Terry, Marianne and the 100 or so Walshs and Mannings, in addition to his many friends, who knew him well.
For a great spirit , such as Ray’s, will continue to live on through each of us.
A fitting memorial to Ray is in the planning stages for the Summer of 2018
and will be announced at a later date.
If you wish to make a donation in Ray’s name, please do so to one of these two
organizations which continue to do great work for those with developmental disabilities.
Helping Hand Center
9649 West 55th Street
Countryside, IL. 60525
The Arc of Carroll County
180 Kreiders Church Road
Westminster, MD., 21158
Online condolences may be shared at www.trefzandbowser.com.