Thomas (Tom) Manske
March 22, 1939 – January 19, 2023
Thomas, “Tom” Manske, 83, of Waldport, OR, passed away quietly on January 19, 2023, at the Samaritan Pacific Community Hospital surrounded by his ICU nurses to be with the love of his life Romelle “Mell.”
He was born in Milwaukee, WI., to Harvey and Arla Manske on March 22, 1939. He grew up with his older brother and little sister, enjoying time at the beach, fishing, and going on adventures. He also began his lifelong hobby of fixing, building things and becoming an avid photographer. He graduated from Whitefish Bay High School. Before joining the military, he worked as a Wrangler at a dude ranch in Colorado. It was there that his love for small arms became a hobby. He loved all animals, and the Family always had a Furbaby or two.
On January 2, 1962, he began his 20-year service in the US Air Force in the Communications Unit. This was when his BIG adventures started. His 1st tour was in Keflavik, Iceland, and then he was deployed to Stephenville, Newfoundland, followed by Berlin, Germany.
Tom was an avid photographer and took photos of everything. He was in Berlin on June 26, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy gave his famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech at the Rudolph Wilde Platz. He took incredible photos of the caravan driving before him with the President standing and waving.
His next tour was Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Tx, followed by Mt. Home AFB, Idaho. He served one tour of duty in Vietnam. Even during a war, he found a way to take the most beautiful photos of the landscape and the people.
Once he returned to the US, Tom moved his Family to Forbes AFB in Topeka, Kansas, before returning overseas in 1976 to Kadena AFB in Okinawa, Japan. He received his Padi International Open Water certificate and joined the Reef Rovers Dive Club. His last tour before retiring as a Master Sergeant was in Nebraska.
During those 20 years, he was awarded; Air & Space Commendation, Outstanding Unit and Longevity awards, Air Force Good Conduct, Presidential Unit Citation medal, Army of Occupation, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Award, Republic of Vietnam campaign medal, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon and last but certainly not least, a Purple Heart.
After retiring from the Air Force, the Family moved to Lewiston, Idaho. Tom was a Port of entry Inspector for the State of Idaho Transportation Dept. He loved reading books written by his favorite novelist, Louis L’Amour. All about adventures in the Wild West; they also shared the same birthday, which he thought was cool. He thoroughly enjoyed hunting but fishing with Mell on their boat on Mann Lake, seeing who could catch the most or biggest rainbow trout, was one of his favorite pass times.
After retirement in 2002, on one of their many adventures, Tom and Mell fell in love with the Oregon coast. They moved to Waldport, where they enjoyed fishing, gardening, traveling, taking photos, whale watching, and finding seashells and glass balls.
He looked forward to visits from his children and grandchildren. He had a fantastic memory and told entertaining stories, sometimes with a hint of exaggeration.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, his older brother Alan Harvey Manske and his beautiful wife, Romelle (Mell). His little sister, Lynn Manske Johnson (North Carolina), survives him. Four children; His favorite daughter Patricia (Pat) Manske Ausman (North Carolina), Dennis Manske(Texas), James(Jim) Manske(Washington), and Michael(Mike) Manske(Idaho). Twelve grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews, dear friends, and his beloved Bonsai Tree.
You are all welcome to join our Family and friends for Tom’s celebration of life, which will be held at the Look-Out on Cape Foulweather, 4905 Otter Crest Loop, Otter Rock, OR on June 17, 2023, at 10:00 am.
To send flowers
to the family or plant a tree
in memory of Thomas Manske, please visit our floral store.