Peter L. Manion
September 21, 1940 – November 14, 2020
Peter Lewis Manion, 80 years old, of Naples passed away on November 14th after a long illness.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, November 19th at 12 noon at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Naples.. The service will be live streamed. (https://saintjohntheevangelist.com/events/online-funeral-mass) Burial will be held at a later date, when the extended family can safely travel to attend.
Peter was born in Troy, New York on September 21st, 1940 to Marcella Mary Woods and John Joseph Manion. He spent his childhood in Buffalo, New York, attending St. Joseph Collegiate Institute and Niagara University.
He served in the U.S. Army Transportation Corps, helping to deter a Soviet invasion of Europe, leading auto convoys from West Germany through communist East Germany into West Berlin through Checkpoint Charlie.
Upon returning stateside, he proposed to the love of his life, Susan, after taking her on a date every night for a month. Peter worked at Ford Motor Company in logistics for 30 years - a fortuitous career given his love of trains, planes, and automobiles. He worked in Detroit, Ohio, Florida, and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
When he retired, Susan gave him a framed copy of the famous Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, “It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy… let’s go exploring!” His retirement certainly lived up to this sentiment. They traveled the world for decades, organizing adventures with family and friends.
Peter’s greatest joy came from his family. He and Susan felt blessed to be able to share their adventures with their children and grandchildren. Over the years, they treated their grandchildren to trips to Copenhagen, Prague, Berlin, Wales, Legoland, New York City, Niagara Falls, and the American Southwest. While these destinations were wonderful, the grandchildren were always just as happy visiting “Mimi” and “Grandpa” in Naples for scones at Tony’s Off Third, Ben & Jerry’s at Venetian Village, and lots of pool and beach time.
Peter often remarked to his children and grandchildren that, as much as he enjoyed his career, he found true contentment in his retirement when he could focus on giving back. Some of his greatest joys came from his service to the Naples community. Through participation in the Leadership Collier program, he served on the boards of Habitat for Humanity, the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, and the Naples Airport Authority.
He was also Co-Chair of the Board, with his wife Susan, of Fun Time Early Childhood Academy. In 2005, Fun Times had fallen on hard times. Finances were rocky, it was understaffed, and the double-wide trailers housing the classrooms were damaged by Hurricane Wilma. Despite 45 years of providing low-income families with quality child care, Fun Time needed serious help. Peter and Susan, with a major assist from Peter’s college roommate Skip Zink and with extraordinary support from the Naples community, decided to throw their efforts into securing the $2.5 million needed for the construction of a debt-free 8,000 square foot learning center that opened in January 2009.
Peter felt strongly about supporting the children. He understood the power of early childhood education to lay the groundwork for lifelong success, and he was thrilled to be able to support an established school serving a group of children who might not otherwise have access to excellent child care.
The kids at Fun Time adored Peter. When he pulled up in his red Mustang convertible, the kids on the playground would toss their ball over the fence for him to toss back to them. One of his greatest honors was having the playground named after him and Susan.
He and Susan received the GNL Distinguished Leadership Award and the Naples Daily News 2010 Naples Outstanding Citizens of the Year Award for their volunteer work.
Beyond these accolades, Peter was known for his sweet disposition, faith, and deep devotion to his family. His generosity and care for others around him was boundless. He loved nothing more than treating his family to a great meal, which would almost always feature a discussion about the next great meal to be shared. He loved music, especially jazz and musicals. He loved pretzels and could be known to sneak one or two to a grandkid, even right before dinner. He loved heath bar crunch ice cream, another regular pre-dinner snack. He was fluent in the three German words everyone needs to know - ein Bier bitte. He loved his signature brightly colored sweaters and was known to don an occasional snappy bow-tie.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 54 years, Susan, his son John Joseph Manion and wife Nicole, his daughter Mary Beth and husband Michael Morell, grandchildren Sarah, Luke, and Peter Morell, Maximo and Maelyn Manion, and “honorary” grandchildren Ella and Olivia Sauerberg. He was preceded in death by his parents and by his sister Carol Barth Lodholtz. Peter’s family owes a huge debt of gratitude to his devoted caregiver Ellie Witham, who helped him and his family navigate the journey through dementia.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Fun Time Early Childhood Academy, 102 12th St N, Naples, FL 34102
The Link to Fun Time = https://funtimeacademy.org/donate/
A Mass of Christian Burial
Thursday, November 19, 2020
Peter L. Manion
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Karen Rothe de Fiebre
November 17, 2020
Sue, I remember Hank and I saying hi as you rode your bikes in the Moorings. We admired your dedication to the community. Hank also died this year but I know he would want me to pass on our sadness at your loss.
November 17, 2020
Peter was a cherished friend. We will miss him.
Our love and prayers to Sue and her family during this difficult time.
Sherry and Steve DeDecker
Gene and Diane Gardner
November 16, 2020
We are very sorry to learn of Peter’s passing. We send our sympathy to Susan and their family. Peter was a great man and will be missed by his many friends and associates.