Gary Allen Manning


ROCHELLE — Gary Allen Manning, 82, passed away Sunday, Jan. 22 at the Wm. S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. He was born Jan. 9, 1941, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the son of Neil and Laura (Anger) Manning.

Gary was raised in a large family of mostly boys and one sister in the small town of Holcomb. He attended his elementary school years at Holcomb Consolidated School. Already, at that point, Gary had developed a strong fondness for football. He would tell you a story about how he navigated the town of Holcomb in an arm pump powered cart (what we imagined to look like a hot wheel). He said it gave him the strength and shoulders he needed to become the great football player he was.

In 1959, Gary graduated high school from Rochelle Township High. He was given a full ride scholarship to Eastern Montana State University to play football. He said his parents traveled one weekend to watch him play a game, and got back in their car to go home for work the next day. It was at that point he decided, if his parents were going to those extremes to watch him, he was going to play closer to home. He transferred to Missouri and continued to play football until 1961, when he was drafted for the United States Army. He spent “one year and two days” in South Vietnam, fighting in the Vietnamese War. He told us he believed that was because he requested to go to Hawaii, and they must have figured he liked the warm weather.

Once returning to the states, Gary continued playing football for a semiprofessional team in Wisconsin, the Delavan Red Devils. He became a union electrician through the IBEW Local 364 and settled down to start a family. He enjoyed his time working at Manning Electric Inc. before transitioning to other employment ventures, ending up with Control Panels Inc. This sent him traveling throughout the state of Wisconsin, which he loved.

Gary enjoyed retirement; spending time at his Florida home in the winter, and his Wisconsin home in the summer. They were beautiful places in which he continued making memories with family. What he didn’t realize was how many amazing friendships he would develop in those places, and how they would become nothing short of extended family.

Gary would say his biggest accomplishment and best legacy was his family. His favorite thing to do was to spend time with his kids and grandkids at “the lake”. He loved being on the water and boating. He mastered a goal to see all five of his kids up on skis at the same time. Most people that encountered Gary had to endure hearing about his kids and grandkids, extensively. Sorry about that.

In his latest years, Gary was reacquainted with a high school love, Connie. They have enjoyed companionship and helped take care of each other. He beat cancer, he built a shed, he finished a basement; he was “strong like a bull.” He was truly a very happy man and lived a very lovely life. When asking Gary if there was anything he thought should be in his obituary, he stated, “just make sure you say what a great guy I was.” Of course, that goes without saying. He was one of the best and will forever be missed.

Gary is survived by his wife, Connie, of Rochelle; his five children: Barrett (Andrea) Manning of Monroe Center, Andrea (Thomas) Youngman of Franklin, Indiana, Rhonda (Jason) Sullivan, Cassidy Manning and Grant (Tara) Manning all of Rochelle; 18 grandchildren: Tyler (Abby) Ewald, Brandon (Sarah) Manning, Brittni (Kirk) Gorsuch, Grace Manning, Seth (Madison) Leggio, Derrick (Dee) Youngman, Chayce, Gage, Gwen, Krew, Jax, and Thayde Sullivan, Colten, Steel, and Chesney Manning, and Vaughn, Elyse and Creeden Manning; two great great grandchildren: Connor Ewald and Adelai Youngman; brother, James (Joyce) Manning and many nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, Gary was preceded in death by his grandson, Beau Sullivan on Aug. 4, 2021; sister, Mary (Marshall) Jolly and three brothers: John, Neil “Skip” and Dale Manning.

The visitation will be from 3-5:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28 at the Unger-Horner Funeral Home, 400 N. 6th St., Rochelle. The funeral service will be held at 6 p.m. immediately following the visitation with military services provided by Eastern Lee-Ogle Honor Guard and the Active Army Honor Guard. Cremation care will be provided after the services. Memorials may be made in Gary’s memory to St. Jude Children’s Hospital or The Beau Sullivan Memorial. Visit www.ungerhorner.com to sign the online guest book.

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