OBITUARY FOR REV. DR. RAYMOND GEORGE MANKER
Rev. Dr. Raymond George Manker (Sr.) died peacefully December 16, 2018, in Phoenix, AZ, at the age of 93. He was born on April 6, 1925, in Santa Monica, CA. His father was Rev. Charles C. G. Manker who became minister of the Unitarian congregation in El Paso, TX, and his mother was Annie Marie Fehn. Raymond received his B.A. from Texas College of Mines & Metallurgy in 1945. He then studied for the Quaker ministry at the College of the Bible at Transylvania University in Lexington, KY, receiving a B.D. in 1948, and then was ordained and entered the Unitarian ministry. He received an honorary Doctorate of Sacred Theology (STD) from Starr King School of the Ministry in 1974.
He married Gretchen Brammer Loomis of Houston TX in 1949. His ministries were in Toledo OH (1949-50), Wayland MA (1950-1955), Riverside CA (1955-1963), and Phoenix AZ (1963-1990). He also served as Executive of the Pacific Southwest District of the Unitarian Universalist Association (1958-1963), during which time he was the founder of deBenneville Pines Conference Center in CA. Later in the 1970s, he also founded SAWUURA (Sierra Ancha Wilderness UU Religious Association), a wilderness retreat in AZ. In his long ministry, he defended targets of McCarthy era hysteria, counseled and advocated for youth, was very active in the civil rights movement including marching with MLK in Alabama and visiting with voting rights workers in Mississippi, advocated for peace and nonviolence, promoted feminism and attended international women’s conferences, and promoted LGBT rights (including as an early officiant of same-sex weddings), was active in the sanctuary movement of the 1980s, and committed civil disobedience with Gretchen at the nuclear testing site in Nevada. He was a draft and abortion counselor, supported the United Farmworkers union and the ACLU, served on the Board of the UU Service Committee, was active in IARF, and much more. He was a humanist, a christian, and also attuned to nature spirituality.
He traveled the world extensively with Gretchen and family. Upon his retirement from active ministry in 1990, he was made Minister Emeritus of the UU Congregation of Phoenix AZ. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Charles Manker Jr, sister Pauline Gay, and son Wendell. He 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). He is also survived by four grandchildren Tiffany Brock, Nicholas Manker, Benjamin Manker-Seale, and Kat Choyguha, and three great-grandchildren, as well as nieces and nephews and cousins.
A Memorial Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, January 26, 2019, at 2:00 pm, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix, 4027 East Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley. Memorial donations may be made to the
UU Congregation of Phoenix
, or to the
American Civil Liberties Union