Robert Charles Manning – Once an imposing police investigator dressed in his typical Detective Sergeant Joe Friday look – with a dark grey suit, crisp white shirt, thin dark tie, tight brush cut, wearing his revolver in a shoulder holster — by the end of his days he was better known as a sweet man of few words. Robert Charles Manning passed into larger life after a brief illness at home with his family on December 16, 2018, a few weeks past his 86th birthday.
A memorial service is planned at Pineda Presbyterian Church on January 19. Manning’s remains were cremated with his New York State Trooper Stetson, grey with its purple band and distinctive gold braid designating an officer. His ashes will be interred at the Cape Canaveral National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the pastoral ministries of the Pineda Presbyterian Church, 5650 N Wickham Rd, Melbourne, FL 32940.
Bob had been an active Melbourne resident since 1997, serving many years as a volunteer at the Brevard Zoo and for VITAS Hospice, where he was named Volunteer of the Year in 2012. At the age of 82 Bob embarked and completed the extensive training program to become a Stephen Minister, and he was joyfully active at the Pineda Presbyterian Church.
After a four-year hitch in the U.S. Navy during the Korean Conflict, rising to the rank of First Electrician’s Mate, Manning drove home from San Diego, CA to Cobleskill, NY. His grandfather inspired him to sit for the state trooper examination, which led to a 30-year career, retiring as the Administrative Senior Investigator with the Bureau of Criminal Investigations of the New York State Police. When Bob began his career in 1955, troopers still wore spurs on high black boots. By retirement, Manning was lecturing at the Police Academy on emerging anti-terrorism tactics.
Asked about his proudest professional achievement during three decades of police work, Manning answered that he never had to discharge his firearm in the conduct of his duty. Bob qualified as an expert marksman and served as a firearm safety instructor for many years.
Bob and his wife Dorothy were involved volunteers in Seneca Falls as well. Bob was active in his church, a scout leader, and a youth sports coach. He served as the Commissioner of Junior League Football and as the Chair of the Seneca Falls Pageant of Bands. In 1975, Manning was named the co-chair of New York State’s Celebration of 150 years of the Erie Canal, commemorating the canal’s connection of New York’s inland waterways to the ports of New York City.
Many teenagers in Seneca Falls called Bob their “second” dad, as he was the kind of man everyone wished they had as a father.
Bob is survived by his wife, Dorothy (Fenley) Manning, as they recently celebrated 61 years of marriage. After retirement, Bob and Dorothy relocated to Wilmington, N.C. from Seneca Falls, N.Y. before moving to Melbourne. Other survivors include his daughter, Pamela and her husband Darrin Chubb of Kitchener, Ontario; his son, Jeffrey and his wife, Laura Beatty Manning of Annapolis, Maryland; seven grandchildren Chelsea and her husband, Chris Dahl of Georgia, Christian Manning of Maryland, Elsa Manning of Oregon, Cooper Manning of New York, Hannah Chubb of New York, Cameron Chubb of Ontario, and Jed Manning of Maryland.