Eugene Manning, 87, of Fergus Falls, died Thursday, September 10, 2020, at Park Gardens Senior Living in Fergus Falls.
He was born June 12, 1933, on the family farm in Green Meadow township near Gary, to Evert and Bergetta (Habeck) Manning. He was the seventh of eight children. Gene attended country school and graduated from Gary High School in 1951. He worked on his family farm for two years while his younger brother finished high school (and always talked fondly about farming). He attended Moorhead State Teachers College from 1953 to 1957, graduating with a B.A. in elementary education. On June 2, 1957 (his college graduation day), he married Helen (Rud) Manning of Bagley. He immediately entered six months of active duty training in the Minnesota National Guard in Missouri and Georgia. After completing his service, he joined Helen in Thief River Falls where he began teaching sixth grade. In 1958 their son Steven was born, followed by Mark three years later in 1961. In 1963, Gene accepted a teaching and principal position at McKinley Elementary School in Fergus Falls. In 1964 he completed his master’s degree in education at the University of North Dakota (Grand Forks). The following year, his son, David was born. During the next 32 years Gene would serve in turn as principal for each of the seven elementary schools in Fergus Falls. He retired from the Fergus Falls Public Schools in 1995. He lived his life investing in the future and investing in kids.
He and Helen were deeply involved in their church. He was confirmed at Ada Lutheran Church in Ada. He served as director of christian education at Trinity Lutheran Church in Thief River Falls. He taught Sunday school for decades, participated in family Bible study groups, served many years on church council, and sang in church choir most of his life.
Gene loved music. He played violin and mandolin. In his youth he sang with his brothers at dances and on the radio. He sang in school vocal groups, sang at home, at church, in the car and whenever he could.
Gene served as a Rotarian in the Fergus Falls Rotary Club for five decades. He and Helen hosted dozens of exchange students, making friends around the world.
Gene and Helen loved traveling and visited most of the U.S., Europe and visited relatives in Norway five times.
Gene is preceded in death by his wife, Helen; his parents; three sisters, Eveline (Roy) Bennefield, Helen (Irving) Grieve, Dorothy (Floyd) Meyers, and four brothers, Lawrence “Bud” Manning, Marvin Manning, Duane Manning and Kenneth “Kenny” Manning.
He is survived by his sons, Dr. Steven Manning of St. Paul, Rev. Mark (Joyce) Manning of Granite Falls, and David (Heidi) Manning of Dallas, Pennsylvania. He is also survived by six grandchildren: Siri (Spencer) Livdahl of St. Paul, Britta Manning of St. Paul, Erik Manning of Fargo, Kurt Manning of Moorhead, Zachary Manning of Rochester, New York, and Ian Manning of Dallas, Pennsylvania.
Walk-Through-Visitation: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., Thursday, September 17, 2020 at the Olson Funeral Home in Fergus Falls.
Graveside service will be 3 p.m., Friday, September 18, 2020, at Bethlehem Cemetery, Fergus Falls.
The Rev. Susan Tjornehoj will officiate.
Interment will be at Bethlehem Cemetery, Fergus Falls.
Arrangements are provided by the Olson Funeral Home in Fergus Falls.
Online condolences may be sent to www.olsonfuneralhome.com.