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Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Mark Maneke would agree that he was one of the most positive people around. He was a fun-loving free spirit with a zest for life that was contagious to all who were near. Mark was deeply devoted to his family, and a friend of Mark’s was a friend for life. Hilarious and tenderhearted, he was the sort of person who could find the good in everyone. Although he was taken from his loved ones much too soon, Mark leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever cherish.
It seems only fitting that Mark made his grand entrance during a time that was as exciting as he was. It was the 1960s when televisions were becoming part of our homes in record numbers, and shows like I Love Lucy changed the way we saw the average American family. Civil rights were front and center in the day’s news, and by the end of the decade we had put the first man on the moon. It was in 1967 that Douglas Maneke and Trena (Oudekerk) were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby as the heat of the summer held the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan, firmly in its grip. Finally on July 7th, the baby boy they named Mark drew his first breath. He was the second of four children as he was joined in his family by his older sister, Lisa, and his younger siblings, Jodi and Todd.
Raised in Parchment, Mark was a bit mischievous, yet he somehow managed to squirm his way out of trouble. His father worked second shift at a local factory while his mother stayed home to care for Mark and his siblings as well as the family home. He was always into fast cars beginning from the time he got his first electric kiddie car that he rode all over when he was about three years old. In addition to attending local schools, Mark often rode his bike to the park and went sledding on the hill that was behind the house. Of course in everything he did, it was all about speed for Mark.
New and exciting changes were in store for Mark when he met the woman of his dreams. Her name was Carmen, and they met while she was living next door to his father. Despite the fact that Mark was ten years older than she, it was love at first sight when he laid eyes on her. As the story goes, she was just drawn to him, making it clear they were truly meant to be together. They began dating and soon found themselves deeply in love. After three years of dating, Mark and Carmen were married on August 30, 1997, in Hill City, South Dakota. Their marriage was truly inspirational. They never questioned their commitment as they were determined to weather the storms of life together and remaining strong in their love. Shortly after they married, Mark put a curtail on his drinking and became sober. His experiences in life and easy going personality made him a great mentor to others who were facing the same struggles.
It didn’t take long once meeting Mark to realize that he was a “fly by the seat of his pants” sort of guy. He loved cars and motorcycles and was known to just get in the car and drive whether on his motorcycle or in his Firebird with the top down. Mark was a huge fan of NASCAR racing who enjoyed Smokey and the Bandit, Cheers, The Christmas Story, was fan of David Letterman, and also loved The Year Without a Santa Claus. Mark loved baseball and enjoyed a wide array of music from rap to classic rock as his philosophy on music was, “Good music is good music.” He was a jack of all trades who had many jobs throughout his life. Mark not only lived in Michigan, but he also lived in South Dakota, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. Although he had a heart attack when he was only 46, it didn’t slow him down any because he knew that life was too short to let it get the best of him. No matter what he faced, Mark always maintained a positive outlook. He was social and outgoing throughout his entire life, and he was very much a people person. Mark was so easy to talk to and had a genuine concern for others that made him so approachable. Through the way he lived his life, Mark taught others so many valuable lessons such as the importance of letting go and having fun, not taking yourself too seriously, and that it doesn’t matter what others think of you - it’s only what you think of yourself that matters.
When reflecting on the life of Mark Maneke, words such as adventurous, quick-witted, and funny come to mind, but perhaps what really set Mark apart was how he was the real deal without a phony bone in his body. He was someone who lived in the moment, taking nothing for granted, and doing whatever he could to make others happy. Every day was the best day of Mark’s life, and he loved sharing every moment with the ones he loved. Life will never be the same without him here, but his memory will forever remain in the hearts of those too numerous to count.
Mark Maneke died on Saturday, January 6, 2018. Mark’s family includes his wife, Carmen; 2 sisters: Lisa ( Mark) Snedeker, Jodi (Derek) Nestich; brother, Todd (Danielle) Maneke; mother, Trena (Doug) Allan; and several nieces and nephews. Mark was preceded in death by his father, Douglas. Visit with family and friends on Wednesday from 5-8 p.m. at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive; Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 where services will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Alamo Cemetery. Please visit Mark’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to a charity of your choice.