Devoted husband, loving father, friend… a true follower of Christ.
Minutes ago, my dad breathed his last. This brief blog will give you insight into my relationship with my father.
Born during the throes of the Great Depression, my dad grew up among the hard-working blue-collar class in Eastern Washington. He is the younger brother of two siblings; a brother who drowned at nine years of age and a sister who succumbed to cancer about ten years ago.
Rex D. Manley was a racehorse owner, Air Force radar tech during the Korean War, salesman, business owner and dedicated volunteer at Northwest Foursquare Church (probably his favorite job).
One of my favorite stories is when my dad was in eighth grade. He and my grandpa cleared forty acres of trees for planting. Every hour after school, and every hour of every Saturday was committed to unimaginably difficult work. Years later, my grandfather apologized for working his 14 year old son so hard. My dads response was, “You didn’t hurt me one bit.”
Towards the end of his high school years, my dad bought a racehorse that had been kicked by its mother. The owners thought it was worthless. My dad loved that horse and trained it to race. The first time the bells went off, the horse froze. It had a late start out of the gate, and yet it managed to best six of the other seven horses.
The horse figured out how to get out of the gate on time, and it went on to take first place in the next 11 races. That equated to a little over $2,000 in winnings for my dad. Not a bad take for an eight-dollar horse.
More than the money, that horse helped to create a significant transformation in my dad. Until this fortuitous relationship, my dad was unusually shy. He would avoid new relationships at just about all costs. People scared him to no end. The life of a racehorse owner did more than bring him out of his shell. It launched him into the (very intimidating) limelight.
A quick rabbit trail: What does an 18 year old do with $2k? He walked into the Ford dealership to buy a brand new car. What does an 18 year old with $2k who gets snubbed by the Ford salesman do? He walks across the street to the Chevrolet dealership and plops down a wad of cash for his brand new car.
My parents were married for over 20 years when I was born. They had four kids in 10 years and one more (me) after another decade had past. I have known the blessing of a very good man I called “dad”. He made many sacrifices for my benefit, including sending me to a Christian school and teaching me a solid work ethic (it didn’t hurt me one bit either).
Dad hit his head almost exactly a year ago. He had a “brain bleed” that caused a type of stroke. It frustrated him to no end that he couldn’t make the rounds at the food bank. His body completely failed him, and he shared with me how badly he wanted to be with Jesus.
One of the highlights for my dad over the last year was listening to the stories of me being a part of Rooftop 519 and becoming a Pastor . He would introduce me to his nurses as “The Pastor” or, “Mr. President”. He lived his life vicariously through me, pouring in encouragement and advice every time we met.
He’s with Jesus now, leaving behind a legacy of great relationships with friends and family. Thank you, Dad. I love you and we will all miss you. Until we meet again.