William Mannschreck

William Mannschreck

6/29/1925 — 5/31/2024

William Chris Mannschreck passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Friday, May 31, 2024, at the age of 98. Bill was born on June 29, 1925, to William and Lillie Mannschreck on the family farm near Cook, Neb., population 300. Although his childhood was spent during the Great Depression, this farming community of German heritage provided an idyllic environment for his boyhood education and character development. His self-reliance, Christian ethic and respect for all creatures, especially horses, were rooted here. His family grew corn for their hogs using a horse-drawn plow, raised chickens, kept milk cows, and had a substantial garden and orchard. He and his sister Mary attended a one-room school for grades 1-8 where Bill’s love of learning blossomed. He once read the entire set of encyclopedias with his pal, Donald Grundman, just for fun. One of Bill’s favorite memories was racing his many cousins to school on his horse Tony. They all had great fun together with Saturday night antics in town, school sports and church participation. Looking back, he said he would not have traded his childhood for any other, even one with luxuries and conveniences.

Upon graduating from Cook High School in 1942, he commenced study at the University of Nebraska with an interest in engineering. World War II and naval officers’ training changed the course of his education. He transferred first to Nebraska State Teachers College for the V-12 program, then UCLA where he entered Naval ROTC studying mathematics and naval science. While at UCLA, he played junior varsity football, complete with leather football helmet, under legendary coach Bronco Nagurski. By 1945, he was a commissioned ensign and 5-inch gunnery officer on the USS Columbus. His ship was sabotaged before it could leave Boston Harbor but was eventually deployed in January 1946. As part of the occupied forces in the Pacific, Bill helped supervise the sinking of the Japanese submarine fleet. He also developed a great admiration for the ship’s doctor, who became a mentor and inspiration for his subsequent life’s work.

After returning to the University of Nebraska, he entered medical school where he was an excellent student, graduating “within a whisker” of the top of his class in 1951. He met Roena Mankin, a nursing student, at a medical school fraternity party. Although she was preoccupied with another date at the time, he was immediately smitten. After their first date, he waited a little too long (busy medical student) to ask her out on a second. She declined his invitation, which required a redoubling of his courting efforts. Eventually he succeeded and they were married on June 10, 1951. They moved to Chicago for his rotating internship at Rush Presbyterian Hospital, then to Denver for his pediatric residency at Denver Children’s Hospital. It was here that they embarked on parenthood with the birth of their firstborn, Tom.

Bill and Ronnie moved to Lewiston in 1954, where they welcomed three more children: Molly, John and Bob. He was a loving and devoted father who always knew how to teach, play, encourage and carefully discipline. Dad’s many life lessons included the importance of a staunch work ethic, the ability to take great joy in small things and the technique for building elaborate ice cream sundaes, dubbed “fancy dancies.”

As a physician, Bill filled a tremendous need becoming the first pediatrician in the region. During his initial year of practice, he found himself in the midst of a polio epidemic. His specialized training was invaluable for these gravely ill children — some in respiratory failure requiring temporary iron lungs. As a young pediatrician, it was not unusual for him to be with a sick newborn all night literally willing the baby to live. He was once asked if he would opt to trade his own life to save the life of a sick infant and he said he would gladly do it. His secret was that he always truly, deeply cared about his patients. In his later years of practice, he focused on a career-long interest in allergy. He pursued fellowship training at the University of Washington and, after passing his board examinations, confined his practice to Allergy and Immunology until his retirement at age 70. Always an advocate of education, he established the physicians’ library at St. Joseph’s Hospital. He also served on the board of directors of the North Central Health District for more than 30 years where he was an avid proponent of immunization programs.

Bill was the quintessential extroverted “people person.” He enjoyed interacting with people of all ages and from all walks of life. His gentle and relaxed demeanor, even temper and genuine interest in their lives put others at ease. Everyone loved him. These traits fostered many friendships and made him an able community leader. He served at both valley Presbyterian churches, was on the Lewiston School Board for 12 years, was a charter member of the Lewis-Clark State College Foundation Board for four decades and served on the board of directors of the Boys & Girls Clubs. He also was a founding member of the Clearwater Investors’ Club, enjoyed Phi Chi and had been a member of the Lewiston Jaycees, among other organizations. His church family was of utmost importance to him and he particularly treasured the “Grumpies,” his men’s Bible study group.

Bill’s leisure-time interests were legion reflecting his enthusiasm for life. He loved skiing, golf, tennis, hiking, camping, reading, taking college classes (particularly those with field trips), boating in the Fee Man Tu, watching Great Courses and Nebraska football, eating popcorn, sipping good dark beer, visiting with neighbors and traveling — particularly those wonderful ski weekends in McCall. Bill was an avid bicyclist and enjoyed many long-distance treks including Cycle America and Ride Idaho. He competed in “I Made the Grade” up the old Lewiston spiral highway 25 times with a goal of always besting the previous year’s time. At age 86, he completed his last race and beat his son to the top. He went to Germany several times to explore his family heritage including bicycling through Bavaria. Bill remained a farm boy at heart for his entire life. He enjoyed getting to know the local farmers, ranchers and veterinarians. Our family home featured two pastures and a barn. He brought home sheep, pigs and, always, there were horses. There were no better moments than when he came home from the office, saddled up the horses and galloped across the fields toward the sunset with his children.

Dad transitioned into the arms of his Heavenly Father on Friday, May 31, 2024. Our family is elated that he has a new body and eternal life featuring much joy and celebration with previously departed family and friends. Bill is survived by his children Tom (Barbara), Molly (Matt), John (Cathy) and Bob (Lisa); grandchildren Annie (John), Will (Diana), Rachel (Calvin), Olivia, Sam, Luke, Maureen (Ben), Kristin and Erin; and great-grandchildren Lavender, Shane, Roland, Tyson, Magnus, Goldie and Oscar. He was preceded in death by Ronnie, his wife of 66 years, his parents and his sister Mary.

We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to dear friend and caregiver Molly Sullivan, Dr. Don Greggain, Dr. Mike Rooney and St. Joseph Family Hospice, Seubert’s Home Care and the staff at Brookdale Senior Living for their compassion and expertise.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, July 1, at the First Presbyterian Church of Clarkston with a reception to follow at the Hells Canyon Grand Hotel’s Seaport Ballroom. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests sending memorials to the First Presbyterian Church of Clarkston, 1122 Diagonal St., Clarkston, WA 99403; the Lewis-Clark State College Foundation, 500 Eighth Ave., Lewiston, ID 83501 or the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lewis Clark Valley, 1021 Burrell Ave., Lewiston, ID 83501.

 

Service Information

Date & Time
Monday, July 1, 1:00 PM
Location
First Presbyterian Church of Clarkston
1122 Diagonal Street
Clarkston, Washington 99403

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