Michael Wayne Manske, 54, Col. U.S. Marine Corps, retired, died unexpectedly November 26, 2012 of a heart attack at his home. Michael was born in Wayne, Nebraska November 16, 1958 to parents Kennard and Lois Manske. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law and practiced law in Nebraska and Iowa. For the past 18 years, he was Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. He was Ethics Administrator for the Kansas City Kansas Board of Public Utilities. He served on the Westwood City Council. Mike entered the Marine Corps at the age of 17 and became a 32- year veteran (both active and reserve), receiving many medals, including the Legion of Merit (with one gold star and combat "V"), Meritorious Service Medal (with one gold star), Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal (with two gold stars), and the Combat Action Ribbon. He was activated in 1991 for Desert Storm and continued with two deployments to Iraq, 2003 and 2005. He was an active member of his church and taught CCD and coached youth soccer and softball. He was also an avid Red Sox fan.
With great love of country, and at great risk to himself, Col. Manske prided himself on bringing all his men home alive during his three deployments. As he would often quote, "Freedom has never been free. So when you go to sleep tonight under that warm blanket of freedom, thank those who have fought for it." Mike possessed incredible personal strength and fortitude, whether he was leading people into combat or facing a life-threatening brain injury. Like all men who have taken on the yoke of military service, Michael was a fierce and loyal soldier, but also, filled with compassion for those under his protection.
Family was so important to Mike. No dad has ever loved or been more proud of his daughters than he was. They were truly his world. He was with extended family celebrating Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season last week. Family events brought great joy to Michael and that joy permeated all who surrounded him. We are all so blessed to have shared that precious time with him. He will be sorely missed.
Michael is preceded in death by his father, Kennard. Survivors include his mother Lois of Omaha, daughters, Alison and Molly of Prairie Village, KS, daughters Katie and Shannon of Lincoln NE, sister Maria Poole (husband Charles)of Omaha, uncle Dennis (his second father) and aunt Christine Yannitelli of Kansas City MO, aunt Belva Forsberg of Columbus, NE, his cousins, Quentin (wife Karen), Lee (wife Jenny), and Kurt, Taylor, Madeline, Jack and Kieran, and niece, Logan Poole, and Ny Wetmore, his fiancé and her daughter Grace, with whom so many plans were made but never realized, and many friends and Marine Corps buddies.
"Semper Fi," Michael.
Visitation at Newcomers Funeral Home, 8201 Metcalf Ave Overland Park, KS 66204, on Friday, November 30, 2012 from 5:00-7:00pm. Rosary at 7:00 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, December 1, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Agnes Parish, 5250 Mission Rd. Roeland Park, KS 66205. Burial in northeastern Nebraska. Memorials may be sent to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.
Fond memories and condolences for the family may be left at www.overlandparkchapel.com (Arrangements by D.W. Newcomer's Sons Overland Park Chapel(913) 648-6224).