Griffin Leggett Healey & Roth Funeral Home

5800 W 12TH ST, Little Rock, AR


David J. Manley

July 27, 1947March 20, 2020

David James Manley, 72, of Little Rock died at home from complications of amyloidosis, Friday, March 20, 2020. He was born July 27, 1947 in Neosho, Missouri to James (Jim) and Jo Davis Manley. The family moved to Paris, Arkansas when he was in the 5th grade. In 1965, David graduated from Paris High School, where he loved to play sports. He attended Westark College before joining the US Air Force and being trained as a radio operator, with posts in Vietnam and Thailand. In 1969 he was selected as a radio operator for Air Force One at Andrews AFB, MD and was privileged to personally meet the Apollo 11 astronauts during that time. After his honorable discharge he returned home, got married and completed his education at the University of Arkansas, earning a Juris Doctorate in 1978. David first practiced law in Texarkana, Texas at East Texas Legal Services. In 1982 David and Myrnell moved to Little Rock where David joined the staff of Legal Services of Arkansas, initially as Managing Attorney, later as Director of Litigation and finally as Executive Director of Arkansas Legal Services Support Center. David had a passion for justice and was proud of the work he did on behalf of low-income persons in Texas and Arkansas. He was licensed and litigated in several U.S. District Courts, the Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. He was active in the Arkansas Bar Association (ABA), serving on two special committees of the Arkansas Supreme Court. In 1997, David became an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) with the Social Security Administration Hearing and Appeals Office in California. He returned to Arkansas two years later to serve as Chief Judge in the Little Rock office and he remained an ALJ until he retired in August, 2017. David and Myrnell cherished family gatherings with their children and grandchildren, and especially those that involved travel. They have many fond memories of trips to Disney World, National parks, Florida beaches, and most recently Tuscany, Italy. David and Myrnell have traveled to 45+ countries, several more than once. Even David’s amyloidosis diagnosis (which involved monthly trips to the Mayo Clinic) did not stop them from continuing their travel and truly enjoying their retirement. David is predeceased by his parents and brother Steven Manley. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Myrnell Ferguson Manley, son Ryan (Kim) of Berkeley, California and Little Rock, and daughter Marlo Parker (Jordan) of Little Rock. His three grandchildren, Henry and Daisy Parker and Elliot David Manley, were the absolute light of his life. He is also survived by his brother Gordon Manley (Amy) of Ft. Smith, three nieces and their children, and many cousins. David’s family, friends and colleagues remember him as a gentleman with a good heart and a fierce advocate of justice. He was compassionate, energetic, tough, wicked smart, funny, honest to the core, loyal, helpful, and genuine. David’s ashes will be laid to rest at a memorial service this summer, date tbd. In lieu of flowers the family suggests making donations to: Legal Aid of Arkansas (https://www.arlegalservices.org/donate), Women and Children First Battered Women’s Shelter (www.wcfarkansas.org/donate) or Arkansas Foodbank (www.arkansasfoodbank.org/how-can-i-help-2/donate/). Arrangements: Griffin, Leggett, Healey and Roth Funeral Home, West 12th Street, Little Rock. www.dignitymemorial.com or www.griffinleggetthealeyroth.com.


25 July

Memorial Service

11:00 am

Griffin Leggett Healey & Roth Funeral Home

5800 W 12Th St
Little Rock, Arkansas 72204


David J. Manley

have a memory or condolence to add?

Eli Chaparro

April 1, 2020

David Manley was a dear colleague who will be sorely missed. He was a true champion of the poor and those in need, whether it be at Legal Services, Habitat for Humanity or Social Security. I had the pleasure of working with him at Social Security as a writer, senior attorney, supervisor and then as an Administrative Law Judge. He was always encouraging and was a great mentor to me. I could always go to him for advice and knew that he would be willing to help. He always spoke fondly of his wife and their travels together, which he appeared to greatly enjoy. He gave a good accounting of himself during his stay on this earth and made his Creator proud. Much love to his surviving family.

Lydia Whetstone

March 29, 2020

I had the privilege to work for Judge Manley in Little Rock and always respected his knowledge of the law. Once I moved to Fort Smith, he kept in contact with me, telling me about his family that lived in this part of the state and visits here. He will be missed by all. My deepest condolences and prayers.

Marcia Mobbs

March 28, 2020

I was one of the clerks Judge Manley promoted to paralegal specialist not long after he became the Chief Administrative Law Judge at the Little Rock O H A. He not only promoted me, he also encouraged me and impressed me. He was a very giving person and especially was good to the downtrodden. He was always generous when we as an office gave to various charities and was always willing to help when asked. He and his family loved to travel and I always enjoyed hearing of his travels. He was an excellent judge and worked hard. He often complimented the writers in decisions we wrote for him and this was encouraging as we knew he meant every word! It was an honor to know you, Judge Manley. My deepest condolences to his family.

Diane Salyers

March 28, 2020

I worked with Judge Manley at ODAR for several years. He was kind and compassionate and loved music. He was so instrumental in helping us get a scholarship foundation set up after my son was killed in Iraq. I know how proud he was of his family and especially his grandchildren. He will surely be missed.

John Cooke

March 28, 2020

I knew David through his work @ Legal Services in Little Rock. Enjoyed time with he & family in St Pete Beach, FL and time with the kids @ Busch Gardens, Disney World and other attractions where I became the designated adult to accompany the kids on various rides. Always fun. My heart is heavy learning he’s gone. But happy to know that he’ll never be forgotten, he touched many lives. RIP David Manley.

Pam Gilbert

March 28, 2020

I worked with Judge Manley for several years at Social Security. I realized very quickly that he had an enormous passion for what he did and put great thought and care into every decision he rendered. He was one of the great ones!!

My deepest condolences to his family.

Curt Hampton

March 28, 2020

My deepest condolences to the Manley family. I didn’t know Judge Manley especially well, but he was a trusted friend and longtime mentor to my late wife, Betsy, who worked with him for many years both at Legal Services and later at Social Security. Betsy spoke of the judge often, with fondness and respect. I pray for the family’s comfort.

Blair Graves

March 28, 2020

Although I only met David a couple of times, I was immediately struck with his warmth and joie de vivre. His adoration and devotion to his family were very apparent. Deepest sympathies and love to his family. You are all in my thoughts during this very difficult time.

Paul Bowen

March 28, 2020

I was saddened to hear of David’s passing. We were Legal Services lawyers together 200 years ago. More recently we spent time together with the Veteran’s Legal Assistance Program (VLAP). He was always fiercely devoted to the cause of the less fortunate. And he took delight in giving me maximum grief-to use a word that will get past the censors-whenever possible.

Although he never spoke about it, I know he suffered greatly. His suffering is done. He has earned his rest. My deepest condolences to his beloved family.

Marilyn Rauch

March 27, 2020

David was one of my best.friends In the world. We learned how to practice law.together. He was an inspiration and role model for me. Davey, I miss
you more than you will ever know. Thank you for sharing your family with me. I love Myrnell, Ryan, Marlo, and their families dearly. God bless them.

With love, Marilyn aka.. "Mimi"