Valera Urbanette Manning, 96, a parishioner at St. Anthony, Portland, for nearly 63 years, died Jan. 1.
She was one of seven children born to Timothy J. and Johanna B. Healy. Her father was known as “Big Tim” Healy, a patrolman of the Portland Police Department. Theirs was a close-knit family rooted in their Catholic faith and Irish heritage. Mrs. Manning cherished any opportunity to share memories of their childhood together.
For over half her life she celebrated her birthday May 30, 1920, until her birth certificate surfaced in later years and her family discovered her true date of birth on May 25, 1920. Her family then celebrated her on both dates.
She married John “Jack” Anthony Manning (d. 2004), a sergeant major in the United States Marines, WWII, in 1948 after an extended courtship with “No Creek Jack” during his military service and his employment in Alaska. They were married for 56 years or “forever,” as Jack said in front of a congregation one Sunday in their silver years. Together they worked multiple jobs and untold hours to give their children Catholic educations.
Mrs. Manning was preceded in death by her husband and her siblings, Daniel Healy, Joseph Healy, Vincent Healy, Margaret Kaufman, Johanna Herinckx, and Patricia Berns.
She is survived by her six children and five daughters-in-law, 22 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.
An avid bird enthusiast and showman, she earned top prizes for her colorful canaries. She tended to her family and friends, welcoming all who entered her home with a pot roast dinner and an eager ear. She sewed doll-clothes for her granddaughters and allowed the “to-mah-to” club of grandsons to reign supreme in the backyard.
The night before her passing, she told her children that she could sense her parents and siblings waiting in the living room. She was given her final rites by Father Patrick Donoghue on New Year’s Eve and joined her husband and family once more.