Vera Manley

June 20, 1935 - October 8, 2016
Grand Rapids, MI



Saturday, October 15, 2016
11:00 AM EDT
Grandville Church of Christ
3725 44th Street SW
Grandville, MI

Visitation will be held one hour prior to her service at church



At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Ross William Trinklein Scholarship Fund of Rochester College
800 West Avon Rd.
Rochester, MI 48307


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


When reflecting on the life of Vera Manley it is easy to see just how richly people were blessed through her touch. After coming to embrace her personal faith, her mission in life became focused on being the hands and feet of the Lord she loved. Vera was never one to worry about the things of this world, rather, her focus was on living the days she was given fully while sharing enriching experiences with her family and friends. A friend of Vera’s was a friend for life, and her loyalty was truly unmatched. Life will never be the same without her here, but she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their heart.

The 1930s are often recalled as some of the most trying days we have faced as a nation as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Jobs became scarce, the unemployment rate soared, and people came together to weather the storm in whatever way they could. It was during this eventful time that Arthur and Mary Manley were eagerly anticipating an exciting time in their lives as they awaited the birth of their baby. In the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1935, the big day finally arrived on June 20th when they welcomed the baby girl they named Vera Lou into their hearts and home. She was the older of two girls in the Manley family as she was raised in the family home alongside her younger sister, Kathryn June ("sissy").

In many ways Vera was a young girl of her generation. She attended elementary school at Godfrey Lee, and when her family later moved to the Northeast side of Grand Rapids Vera became a student at Creston High School. There, she sang in the choir as she had a lifelong love for music. Vera also established some friendships there that became people she was friends with for the rest of her life. Throughout her entire life she treasured her friendships, and she was the type of person who never met a stranger.

Vera graduated from Creston High School early and was eager for all that life had in store. She started working for Michigan Bell Telephone Company, which later became AT&T, and this is where she spent her entire 36 year career. Vera started there as a switchboard operator and would eventually get into management. This wasn’t always an easy road for her, especially because she was a woman, but she persevered despite the trials it took to arrive there. Of course Vera developed many close friendships there including a special group of ladies who were later called The Fearsome Four. They were often together both inside and outside of work, and they continued meeting together for years after retiring.

Throughout her life Vera was close with her sister and her sister's family. She regularly spent holidays with them, vacationed with them, and was very involved with her nieces and nephews while being respectful of boundaries at the same time. In the mid-70s Vera and her mother moved into their home on Coit Avenue where Vera eventually cared for her mother in her last years. Vera was always deeply interested in the family history of her ancestors. She treasured the trivia, little-known facts and stories she learned and loved to share them with the younger generations. In addition to traveling with family, Vera also had several travel companions with whom she traveled the world. The people she traveled with were just as important as the destination. Vera always brought gifts back to her family members, and she very carefully labeled where each and every gift came from. She also chronicled her travels through pictures, which were very meticulously labeled.

Vera’s life was forever changed when she accepted the Lord in 1981. She then became very involved in her church doing things like teaching Bible school and helping as a church camp counselor. Her life was really transformed because she knew what the Lord had done for her and she loved Him with all her heart. From that point forward, Vera’s focus was on others as she no longer worked for herself but looked for opportunities to help others in ways both great and small. She volunteered to watch kids to give their parents a break, she wrote to shut-ins every week, acted as a taxi service for many who needed rides to appointments, and so much more. As her family and friends can attest, Vera loved her VCR and frequently recorded things she knew others would like. She really went over and above, too, as she made tapes for them, filling the tape completely and also making specific labels with reviews tapped to the box. Vera even edited parts as well. She also loved her pets through life since she had a special place in her heart for all animals.

Over the years Vera was a bustle of activity. She learned to play the organ, for music was always an important part of her life. Vera loved to sing and had an impressive range. She was very proud of her past and fiercely loyal as she was devoted to her Creston Polar Bears, very patriotic and proud of veterans, always supportive of AT&T, loved anything chocolate, and also was loyally devoted to her friends and various responsibilities. Vera's favorite president was Gerald R. Ford because he was from Grand Rapids and she would proudly tell others that she had a cousin who was in the South High School football 30/30 club. She got up at 3am one morning in 2006 to view President Ford's casket with her nieces and nephews. Hence, she loved the G.R. Ford Museum. Vera loved Frederick Meijer Gardens and was proud to have been a member since it opened. She also loved baseball, perhaps from watching her dad play, and was a proud fan of the Detroit Tigers and the Whitecaps, too.

Vera was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2006. It progressed slowly, and she was surrounded by the family and friends who were so important to her throughout her life. They all worked together to ensure Vera's request, which was that she be able to remain in her home. Vera's family is forever grateful to the many loving caregivers that supported them and helped care for Vera in the gentlest manner, from both Homewatch CareGivers and Faith Hospice.

All who knew Vera Manley would agree that she was truly extraordinary. She had a heart for those who were in need or had no voice of their own, and she was generous and compassionate beyond measure. Vera had a great sense of humor, and with a certain sparkle and flair about her she was often the life of the party. She was outgoing, yet she was also private, and so much fun to be around. She was lovingly known by her family as the Very Lovely Maiden and the Last Rose of Spring. Hardworking, colorful, and loyal, Vera touched countless others. Deeply loved, she will be forever missed.

Vera Manley, age 81 of Grand Rapids, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on October 8, 2016. She was preceded in death by her sister, Kathryn Hendrick; niece June Bufkin; and great nephew Ross Trinklein. Vera is survived by her brother-in-law, Wesley Hendrick; nieces and nephews Mary & Bill Trinklein, Wes and Debbie Hendrick, Ted Bufkin III; great nieces and nephews Evan Trinklein and Betsy Trinklein, Emily (Cameron) Dilly, Leah (Greg) Ball, Caleb (Krista) Hendrick, Hope (Alan) Margherio, Ted Bufkin IV, Robbi Bufkin and Will Bufkin as well as great great nieces and nephews and many friends. Vera's funeral service will be held on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 11 AM at Grandville Church of Christ where friends may visit with her family from 10 AM until the time of the service. For those who wish, her family encourages memorial donations to the Ross William Trinklein Scholarship Fund of Rochester College. To read more about Vera's life, to share a memory or to sign her guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com