Marilyn was raised south of Exeter on a farm. She attended country school, parochial school, and then high school at Exeter Public School in Exeter, Nebraska. She graduated from high school in 1947. She then moved to Lincoln to live with her sister, Madeline while she attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she received her Teaching Certificate. She returned to Exeter where she taught school for two years. In 1949, she married her high school sweetheart, Thomas B. Manning. They resided in Exeter for one year, and then moved to Burress, Nebraska where they raised their eight children. Marilyn’s passion in life was to raise her children by example. She lived her life to love, laugh, and learn. Each day was filled with just that. She passed these gifts on to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She was compassionate, and always giving in all that she touched. She taught her children and grandchildren to be truthful, fair, and hardworking. She always encouraged them to find time for work, play, and enjoy life to the fullest extent. She shaped their outlook on life to “be the best that you can be.” Her greatest joy was having family gather for holidays with all the laughter, fun, and excitement of the family interacting.
Marilyn was married to Thomas B. Manning on June 11th, 1949. They spent their Honeymoon at Grand Lake, Colorado. To them eight children were born. She and her husband Tom had an everlasting love. They loved and respected each other in all walks of life. Getting away for a couple days to celebrate their anniversary was important to them. Most years they would take the family to Grand Lake, Colorado in the summer to enjoy the beauty of the mountains. They continued this tradition as a couple through the years. Their most recent trip to Grand Lake was this past September to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary.
Marilyn was active in the St. Stephen’s Catholic Church. She was a member of the Altar Society.
She enjoyed membership in GFWC Women’s Club, during which she organized the Arbor Day tree planting for which a tree was planted, and a book given to each baby born in the Exeter area during that year. She loved giving back to the community. Marilyn was also the leader for the “ Pins and Pans” 4-H club, mentoring these young girls in cooking skills, sewing, crafts, and much more. During this time, she wrote a grant to Readers’ Digest for start-up funding to develop a park by the library. The grant was approved, and hence “Story Book Park” was born located behind the City Library in Exeter.
Most enjoyable for her, was being part of the neighborhood. The ladies started their own club, “Burress Belles”. They celebrated life events, birthdays, and good friendship. She hosted her final gathering two days prior to the onset of her debilitating illness. Her dedication to neighbors, friends, and family was present to the very end of the generous life of this remarkable lady. She will be remembered as a fabulous wife, mother, cook, talented writer, and exceptional caring and kind lady. She will be eternally loved, and forever missed.
She was preceded in death by daughter Clara Lynn Manning-Fletcher; sisters Madeline Landgren, Catherine Janet McAuley; and brothers Francis Murphy, and Patrick Murphy.
She is survived by husband Thomas B. Manning, Burress, Nebraska; sons Thomas David Manning and wife Bette, Fairmont, Nebraska, Chris Manning and wife Brenda, Exeter, Nebraska, Mark Manning and wife Leanne, Crete, Nebraska, Kent Manning and wife Cindy, Burress, Nebraska, Matthew Manning and wife Heather, Lincoln Nebraska; daughters, Melinda Hofferber, Westminster, Colorado, Jennifer Harris and husband Mark, Lincoln, Nebraska; 15 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.