Gene Manning passed away at home Monday, November 22, with his wife and daughters by his side. He was 89 years old. He was fortunate in the days prior to have many family and dear friends visit and send messages of love, for which we will always be grateful.
Walter Eugene Manning was born June 6, 1932, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Walter James Manning and Ada Grace Jenkins. He grew up in Magna, Utah, and Kingman, Arizona, where he graduated from high school in 1950, known affectionately by his friends as “Butterball.” His high school years were among his most cherished memories, and he maintained contact with several of his close friends from those years throughout his life.
Following high school, Gene enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in the Korean War as an Electronics Technician Third Class aboard the USS Radford and USS O’Bannon. He was particularly proud to have been present for the testing of the world’s first hydrogen bomb at Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands on November 1, 1952.
Gene was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1955 and worked as a camera operator at KSL Studios in Salt Lake City, during which time he met Joellyn Crapo, originally of Parker, Idaho. They married in the Salt Lake Temple on March 12, 1958, and became the parents of four children.
Gene’s professional career included working as an electronics technician at Atomics International in California, helping build the original KBYU Broadcasting studios while earning his master’s degree in Communications at BYU, serving as general manager of K-96 FM and KOVO 960 AM radio stations, conducting professional development trainings around the country, and operating ATMs in several locations throughout Salt Lake and Utah Counties.
Gene was a skilled craftsman who loved working with his hands in any capacity. He could fix nearly any type of household problem. He created beautiful woodwork, from large pieces of furniture to detailed frames and art pieces, and—next to the temple—his wood shop was his favorite place to spend time. He found great joy working in the dirt and spent countless hours maintaining his garden; caring for the many trees, shrubs, and flowers in his yard; and harvesting the fruits of his labor. He loved being in nature, and many of our fondest childhood memories involve camping, hiking, and fishing with him. He combined his love of woodwork and his love of nature by building specialized beehives and keeping bees in his backyard.
Gene’s two great loves were his family and his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He made time for his children no matter how busy he was with work or church responsibilities, and he made a point of teaching us at every opportunity, whether he was showing us the right way to dig out weeds, explaining how light travels through space, or helping us understand complex gospel topics.
Gene held numerous formal callings over his many years of service in the Church, including Scoutmaster, Young Men’s president, member of the Bishopric and Bishop, High Councilor, Counselor to the Stake President, Sunday School and priesthood quorum teacher, and Home Teacher and Minister, as well as Mia Maid advisor for a short time. He considered the responsibility to minister a sacred duty, and he served others outside his formal callings in large and small ways throughout his life.
Gene was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Elaine and Joyce, brother Lawrence (Larry), and sons David and Sean. He is survived by his wife, Joellyn, his daughters Maureen (Brent) Warren and Shannon Manning, his daughters-in-law Cindy (David) and Cathy (Sean), and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren whom he considered the reward for raising his children.
Gene’s life exemplified a quest to become like the Savior, and everyone who had the opportunity to know him will miss his kindness, generosity, and sense of fun. Funeral services will be held Monday, November 29, at 11:00 AM at the Main Street Chapel in Salem, Utah (60 South Main Street). A viewing will take place Sunday evening, November 28, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at the Walker Funeral Home, 187 South Main Street in Spanish Fork. A viewing will also be held Monday morning from 10:00 – 10:45 AM at the chapel immediately prior to the funeral service. Interment will take place at the Salem City Cemetery following the funeral.
We would like to express our thanks to the doctors and staff of Cottonwood Family Practice and the staff of Intermountain Home Care and Hospice for the kindness and care they offered Dad during the last few years and months as his health declined.