The Rev. Dr. Raymond “Ray” G. Manker died on December 16, 2018 at the age of 93.
Raymond was born on April 6, 1925 in Santa Monica, CA to Rev. Charles C. G. Manker and Annie Marie Fehn. He graduated from the College of Mines and Metallurgy, University of Texas, TX in 1945 with a Bachelor of Arts, following which he earned his Bachelor of Divinity from College of the Bible, Transylvania University, KY in 1948. In 1974, the Starr King School for Ministry, CA honored Ray with the honorary degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology.
Rev. Dr. Manker was ordained on July 13, 1948 by the Pilgrim Church (Congregational-Unitarian) in El Paso, Texas. He served the First Unitarian in Toledo, OH from 1949 to 1950. In that year he was called to the First Parish in Wayland, MA where he carried out his ministry for five years. Then, over the next three and half decades, Rev. Dr. Manker executed his parish ministry at the UU Church of Riverside, Riverside, CA (1955- 1963) and the UU Congregation of Phoenix, Paradise Valley, AZ (1963-1990). He retired from the active ministry in 1990, at which time the Phoenix congregation elected him their Minister Emeritus.
Rev. Dr. Manker carried out a great deal of service on behalf of the denomination. He was an Associate Director for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee Work Camp in 1951 and an Executive Secretary for the Pacific South West District, UUA, Pasadena, CA from 1958 to 1963. He functioned as a Superintendent for the California Universalist Convention from 1961 to 1963, and as a member of the Board of Directors for the Unitarian Sunday School Society. He also served the UUA Curriculum Development Committee in 1980 and the UUSC in various positions: as a member of the Board of Directors in 1985, and as Vice-President from 1988 to 1989.
Beyond his ministry and denominational work, Ray actively served the communities to which he belonged. He was on the Central Chapter Board for the Arizona Civil Liberties Union from 1964 to 1985. In 1973, the Union awarded him, “the Distinguished Citizen Award for Outstanding Contributions to Civil Liberties.” Furthermore, Ray served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Arizona Sanctuary Defense Fund in 1980, and also for the Arizona Center to Reverse the Arms Race from 1983 to 1985. In 1987, the Greater Phoenix Chapter, United Nations Association, bestowed Ray and his wife Gretchen, the “Recognition of Distinguished Service in the Cause of Human Rights” award. Likewise, in 2003, Ray received the annual MLK Diversity Award from the Town of Paradise Valley, AZ.
In his spare time, Ray enjoyed nature study, travel, gardening, reading, art, music and history.
Ray’s daughter Rev. Susan had these thoughts to share in remembrance of her father:
Dad met mom in 1948 at the Unitarian Summer Camp in Ardmore, OK, and they married a year later. Their passion for UU conferences and camps led them to create and actively support Camp de Benneville Pines in CA as well as the Sierra Ancha Wilderness Unitarian Universalist Religious Association, the wilderness retreat in AZ. Both David and I followed dad into the UU Ministry.
Ray is survived by his wife Gretchen; his children and their spouses Katherine (Bruce Gardner), Raymond Jr (Patti Atchley), Susan (Curtiss Seale), and David (Larry Purifory); his four grandchildren Tiffany Brock, Nicholas Manker, Benjamin Manker-Seale, and Kat Choyguha; his three great grandchildren; and his several nieces, nephews and cousins. He was predeceased by his parents, his brother Charles Manker Jr., sister Pauline Gay and son Wendell.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to a charity of one’s own choosing as well as to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix, AZ or the American Civil Liberties Union.
A memorial service will be held at 2 pm on Saturday, January 26th, 2019 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix, 4027 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253.
Notes of condolences may be sent to Gretchen Manker at 1650 W Glendale Ave Apt 2123, Phoenix, AZ 85021.