Today’s installment of Old Mission history comes to us from my mom’s archives – oh so many archives – now in my house after I cleaned her house out last fall. And I absolutely love it, because so many of these photos were taken either before I was born in 1960 or after I was born but too young to remember them.

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Here’s a picture of the Ogdensburg United Methodist Church choir (the church is now known as Old Mission Peninsula United Methodist Church). I knew a few of the folks in this picture, but not all of them, which is why I took the picture to church with me yesterday to get some help identifying people.

Here’s who we came up with, left to right: Evelyn Kroupa, Don Greilick, Nan Gore, Jim Hicks, Barb Hicks, Rev. Chuck Manker, Barb Hamrick, Cortland Gore and Mary Johnson (my mom).

Marge (Brown) Long and I think the photo was probably in the late 1950s or early 1960s. Since my mom (church organist for 50+ years) is in the picture, Marge thinks that Lorie Manker, Chuck’s wife, was likely playing the piano for the choir. Marge took piano lessons from Lorie.

Shirley Fuller, Jim Hicks’ and Barb Hicks’ sister, said that would be about right, because she used to take them to church for choir practice.

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Ogdensburg UMC Singspiration 1961 | Newspapers.com

I did a search on Newspapers.com, and learned that Rev. Manker was the pastor at Ogdensburg UMC from February 1958 to December 1962, so the photo would have been taken sometime during those years.

I also discovered that Ogdensburg UMC hosted monthly “singspirations” on Sunday nights during those years, with Rev. Manker singing heartily as a devoted participant. I’ve included one of the listings from the Traverse City Record-Eagle, dated May 26, 1961.

After a long and devoted career in the ministry, Rev. Manker passed away on Feb. 17, 2017, at the age of 91. Lorie had preceded him in death. Below is his obituary as posted on the Gaylord Community Funeral Home. Note that he started singing on the radio at age 12 with his brothers in the “Manker Trio,” and began preaching at age 17.

Farewell, good and faithful servant, who I know helped to shape my mom’s music ministry in the Methodist church (and thus, my own; I still play violin in the church praise band every Sunday).

The. Rev. Charles L. Manker
August 9, 1925 – February 17, 2017 (age 91)

God has called one of His messengers home. The Rev. Charles L. “Chuck” Manker, 91, a long-time Petoskey resident and former pastor of the Petoskey United Methodist Church, passed peacefully at Hiland Cottage on Friday evening, February 17, 2017, surrounded by family. Chuck was born on August 9, 1925, in Ellsworth, MI to the late Bernard and Lila (Cairns) Manker.

He attended Hastings High School, graduating in 1942 at age 16. A classic overachiever, he had four college degrees: a Bachelor of Theology from Indiana Wesleyan University, a Bachelor of Arts from Asbury University, a Master of Arts from the University of Michigan and a Master of Divinity from Drew University (graduating Cum Laude). He loved music all of his life and began singing on the radio at age 12 with his brothers in the Manker Trio. Chuck started preaching at age 17 and spent five-plus years traveling throughout the United States and Canada on evangelistic crusades for over 20 denominations. Chuck served the United Methodist Church as a pastor from 1959 to his retirement in 1975.

He was appointed as the new pastor in January of 1963 to lead the congregation of Chapel Hill Methodist Church of Portage in building their first “church on the corner” at Oakland Drive and Romence Road. He served there until February of 1968 when he was appointed to lead the Methodist Church in Marshall, MI in their building program. He also served churches in Traverse City, MI (1959-1963), and Petoskey, MI (1970-1975).

After retiring from ministry in 1975, Chuck began a successful real estate career, acquiring rental properties and founding Century 21 Manker Associates, which he sold in 1987. He was also a licensed social worker and was a part-time instructor of philosophy and religion at NCMC. He loved to sing, enjoyed playing golf (shot his age 18 times with two holes-in-one), sports, gardening and flying as a private pilot.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Lorie; brothers, Roy and Wes; and a sister, Mae. He is survived by his brother, Bernie; four sons, Mark, Matt, Mike and Marty; and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. In accordance with Chuck’s wishes, cremation has taken place. The family has chosen to delay a memorial service until summer so that family and friends who winter elsewhere may attend. Service arrangements are pending and will be announced later.

Those who wish are asked to consider memorial contributions to the Chapel Hill United Methodist Church of Portage, MI. Arrangements are by Gaylord Community Funeral Home & Cremation Service. Please share your memories and personal messages with the family at www.gaylordfuneralhome.com.

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