Ann Callie Manning, best known for her enormous leadership contributions to social, racial and economic justice initiatives, died March 3, 2022. Born in her beloved Keosauqua, Iowa, to Evelyn (Trink) Manning and John Albert Manning on November 24, 1947, Ann was 74 years old. A lifelong leader of causes that sought to dismantle systemic injustices, she was a loved mentor to many in the Twin Cities and beyond.
Ann graduated from Old Dominion University in Accounting, St. Mary’s University with a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, and from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government where she received a mid-career Masters in Public Administration. After her first job as a CPA accountant, she had, as she later described, “a “checkered career history”. She held positions in Human Resources and Director of Corporate Planning at Medtronic, Director of Strategic Business Services at Wilson Leaning and Strategic Planning consultant with U Care and numerous other corporate and non-profit groups.
She was Coordinator, Wealth for the Common Good, a network of leaders that promotes an economy that works for everyone. She also organized the second annual Women’s Congress of the Science and Environmental Health Network for which she was honored with the 84th Sullivan Ballou award. It honors activists, reformers and others who have “merged their hearts and actions into the wave of spiritual evolution that is making the world a better place”.
It was in her social and racial justice work that Ann most embodied the principles of her Christian heritage and her Buddhist practice. Her latest work with Plymouth Congregational Church’s Racial Justice Initiative was a testimony to her values of compassion and equity for all. As a member of the Board of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force was deeply involved in its Capital Campaign for its new Center for Art and Wellness, support of its youth choir ensemble, and her participation in water walks to honor and protect our living waters. She was a member of Tergar Meditation Community under the guidance of Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. Members described her as an activist embodying the principles of a Bodhisattva, whose intention in life is to be a benefit to all beings.
Ann was a natural networker, aligning with and supporting additional causes for which she nudged her friends to become active. Many say they would not be doing the particular community work they’re currently engaged in if it weren’t for her invitation - no, her gentle but bold suggestion. Days before she died, some of her “closest” 100+ friends participated in a Zoom meeting to celebrate her life. They spoke to her how her compassion, mentorship, witness and friendship had played an impact in their lives. As one friend later said, memories of her “wisdom and grace fill my broken heart.” Another said “She made the world a better place.”
Ann was a woman of uncommon intelligence, charm and equanimity. She had a wry sense of humor that usually contained a clear message. Her last Facebook post just one month ago proclaimed “I Read Banned Books. What’s on your list to read this winter?” She also loved music of all genres. She had a beautiful voice and it’s no surprise that one of the last times she awakened was to the sound of a music therapist singing and playing “There’ll be Peace in the Valley for Me” on his guitar. She opened her eyes and said very clearly, “So true” and then returned to her deep slumber.
Ann was devoted to her large family. She was preceded in death by her parents, Evelyn (Trink) and John Albert Manning and is also survived by her siblings: George Manning (Kathy), Mai Nguyen (AFS) (Ham), John Manning (Lynn), David Manning (Janet), Matt Manning (Judy), Albert Manning (Kim), Elizabeth Manning, her aunt, Betty Perkins, her many nieces, nephews and cousins. The Manning family wants to pay special appreciation to her longtime friend and devoted caregiver, Barb Arney, and her large numbers of friends and co-conspirators for their love and support over her illness. They also appreciate the tender care given to Ann at the J.A. Wedum Residential Hospice and to the wonderful staff in various departments of Abbott Northwestern Hospital.
Donations can be made in Ann’s honor to Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, Indigenous Peoples Task Force (Nibiwalk and Ikidowin programs), Science and Environmental Health Network or any other program with which Ann was involved. Condolences may be addressed to: Barbara Arney, 6800 York Ave S, Apt 810, Edina, MN 55435. A celebration of life service will be held at Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, May 17, 2022, at 10 am. Additionally, there will be a graveside service at Purdom Cemetery in Keosauqua, Iowa, followed by a celebration of life at the Hotel Manning on Saturday, April 30, 2022, at 2 pm.