Lela Ann Barber Manning passed away on October 8, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas.
Lela was in many ways a miracle child as she was not expected to have survived past 18 months old. Yet, despite her congenital heart issue she lived a full life. Playing basketball, softball (her favorite) and even football where she broke her collar bone. Playing softball is where she found the love of her life, Sparky Manning. They had gone to school together and their paths crossed numerous times, but it wasn’t until years later after school the two saw each other in a much different way.
Sparky and Lela fell in love, did everything the wrong way which drove her crazy, but she was in love, so it was ok. She was there to comfort him when he lost his dad and then a week later for his grandfather. She formed an indestructible bond with his grandmother, Nanny, who became her mentor and confidante. They had a daughter, Veronique Manning. They always wanted more children as they both had a strong love for them, but it was not to be. Their family of three grew up together. Tight knit and strong. Always there for one another. Throughout the years, Veronique would bring her friends home and Lela and Sparky couldn’t help but dote on them. Some they even adopted as their own in spirit like Theresa Stansell.
Lela and her daughter Veronique had a special relationship. Having the ability to stay home and raise Veronique, Lela created a tight bond between the two. She was always there supporting Veronique at anything she tried or enjoyed from soccer to ballet to softball to choir to drama and so many others. She never missed a practice, event or show. Always there with camera in hand and a smile on her face. Lela encouraged Veronique to go after whatever she wanted and was honest with her about her abilities even if she knew it may hurt Veronique’s feelings. Lela and Veronique could often be found to be inseparable the love for each other undeniable.
Lela loved her mother unconditionally. Lela worried about her mother and always wanted only the best for her. She cherished the good visits, chats and times that they shared together. The two shared a love of turquoise jewelry. She loved looking at old pictures and the times her mother would divulge information about her dad with her. Lela and her mother both share a passion for genealogy, a connection to the past, a knowing of where you come from. She was proud of her mother’s accomplishments and always hoped that her mother was proud of hers.
Lela was always in awe of her big sister Jeanine. As a kid she would always want to tag along and be with Jeanine. As an adult she admired Jeanine’s intellect and was always impressed by her pottery skills and her newfound glass slumping skills. She loved and admired how her sister could be both crafty and smart and sharp. She loved her sister so immensely. The two could go years without talking or seeing each other and her love would not wane a bit as she would think about Jeanine every day.
Lela was a devoted aunt. When her big sister Jeanine Pinner gave birth to Laney Pinner it was one of the proudest moments of her life to see and hold her beautiful niece. That instant bond was one that could not be broken by time or distance. Lela loved Laney as she would if she were her own daughter. She would proudly share Laney’s accomplishments with friends and family. Always there to support in anyway. Years later when once again her big sister Jeanine was blessed with another sweet baby, Lela was ready with her big heart. Again, it was an instant bond with her nephew Jake Pinner. She really enjoyed watching Jake grow into the handsome amazing man he is today. She was once again a proud aunt. Loving Jake like the son she never had. She would tell anyone and everyone who would listen how proud she was of his accomplishments and what he was doing next. She wanted so badly to see him sing at Carnegie Hall.
She was also a supportive and loving aunt to her nieces Bonnie Manning and Paula Manning. Always willing to go to dinner to catch up or have a long conversation about life and what’s going on. Always trying to help in the way she knew how. She really loved Bonnie’s beautiful children Daisy and Aiden. She enjoyed being able to talk and play with them when she was feeling good. She loved watching Daisy sing and dance and show off her talents, always recording it on her phone.
Lela had the distinct honor of being able to watch her brother-in-law, Bryan Manning, grow up into the most amazing man he is today. She witnessed his struggles; she knew his pain. She watched him find the love of his life Suzy Manning (who she shared a great friendship with and called her sister) and the two of them start a family together. She was so proud of Bryan’s accomplishments in his life. She had watched him turn from an angry teenager (rightfully so) to the accomplished patient man he is today who is generous with his heart and time. Often, she would be blown away by his beautiful words of love and encouragement for herself and others. Her love for him was so great that she would simply call him her brother.
Suzy and Bryan met as teenagers and so Lela got the privilege of seeing Suzy grow up. She witnessed Suzy’s evolution from teenager to newlywed to young adult and motherhood. Lela and Suzy would often discuss their shared woes and lean on each other for understanding as only they could. They would often discuss what was going on in each other’s lives. Suzy loves playing games almost as much as Lela and they would often play games together. Once Lela and her family lived close enough Suzy would bring meals over every so often. Suzy would often persuade Lela into celebrating her birthday, even when Lela didn’t want to. Always making it a special celebration. When Lela would fall ill and be in the hospital Suzy would coordinate with family to have flowers delivered for her, to brighten up her room. Suzy was another beautiful soul, sister by choice of Lela’s.
Lela always had a special place in her heart for her mother-in-law, Gin Gray. Gin and Lela had become closer in the past few years. Lela was glad that she and her family lived so close to Gin and it proved to be beneficial many times. Living nearby her brother-in-law Tracy Manning and sister-in-law Cecilia Manning was also something Lela enjoyed because it meant she would get to spend more time with everyone at family gatherings. Lela loved playing games and being closer to family meant she was able to do this more often with the people she loved. She cherished the times spent with family whether playing games or just chatting.
If Lela considered you a friend, then she considered you family. Wanda Galjour a friend of Lela’s younger sister became her sister by choice. Wanda was always there to lend a helping hand, share her knowledge, and words of encouragement. Lela could see how big Wanda’s heart is and was so proud of all that she had accomplished in her life. Lela was proud and blessed to call Wanda her sister.
Lela also loved her friend Roxie Ivie so deeply not only for her friendship but for introducing her to her faith. The two shared a friendship that spanned over 35 years and many miles apart. Lela and her family would visit Roxie and her family in many places through the years. Lela loved seeing Roxie’s big family grow year after year. In the last year, the two were able to exchange video messages via Marco Polo to each other. Visually sharing in each other’s lives. Roxie was another that Lela was blessed to call her sister by choice.
Lela also would make work friends, family as she did with Marisol Barrera. Marisol and Lela would have long discussions after work. Discussing life, love, hopes, and dreams. The two became remarkably close and soon Marisol became Veronique’s friend as well. It wasn’t long that she was of course accepted as one of the family. She attended Lela and Sparky’s 25th wedding anniversary vow renewal on mustang beach in Corpus Christi, Texas. Marisol was also invited to their Ruby, 40th, wedding anniversary celebration. Lela loved Marisol as if she were her own blood regardless of the time or distance apart.
Lela loved connecting and catching up with friends from her past like Lilly Miller. She invited her husband and daughter to join, she loved sharing her life with those she loved.
Lela is survived by so many wonderful people that she loved, friends and family alike. Shortly before her passing Lela received a blessing. She was having some PVCs and blood pressure issues as the blessing began but shortly after it started everything calmed down. We know that was her spirit being put at ease and that gives us some comfort.
We take comfort in knowing she is with her daddy that she never got to know, Nanny who meant so much to her and was such a significant woman in her life, her aunt Jean whom she loved and respected immensely, among so many other wonderful ancestors that have gone before us. She is in amazing company that’s for sure. We on the other hand are left with the hole in our hearts and lives, the memories, and the tears to forge ahead without her as hard and heart wrenching as it may be.
Lela passed surrounded by the husband she loved for almost 42 years, her devoted daughter, her sister she loved beyond measure and admired for her numerous abilities and intellect, her beautiful niece whom she loved like her own child, her sister by choice who she loved so great for her beautiful heart, her brother-in-law whom she loved as a brother and was so proud of for his kind and generous heart and the mother who brought her into this world just 9 days shy of her 64th birthday.
She may have been born with heart issues and collected more along the way but her heart was the biggest and hardest working heart we have ever seen. Hers is a legacy of love. She gave love freely despite the hurdles and obstacles that may have been placed in the path and that love was returned to her ten-fold. We move forward without her but NOT without her love.
Lela is survived by her husband and daughter, William Manning and Veronique Manning of Devine, Texas; Mother, Jeanette Hunt of San Antonio, Texas; Sister and Brother-in-law, Jeanine Pinner and Gary Pinner of Buda, Texas; Soul Sisters, Wanda Galjour of Boerne, Texas and Roxie Ivie of Roosevelt, Utah; Mother-in-law, Gin Gray of Devine, Texas; Brothers-in law and Sisters-in-law, Bryan and Suzy Manning and Tracy and Cecilia Manning of Devine, Texas; Nieces and Nephew, Laney Pinner and Jake Pinner of Buda, Texas, Bonnie Manning of Devine, Texas, and Paula Manning of San Antonio, Texas; Her Fur Baby, Greycie of Devine Texas. She is preceded in death by her father, Everett Vernon Barber, Aunt Norma Jean Barber, and Nanny (Ivy) Manning.
Lela’s husband and daughter are sorry for the late notice but found it extremely difficult to post her obituary as it made the loss too real.
A memorial for Lela will be held at a date and time to be announced. A memorial website has been created in her name. https://www.forevermissed.com/lelamanning/about The family would love for those who knew Lela to visit the webpage and share stories, pictures, videos, and/or voice recordings. The memorial website will also give details about her memorial.
Her memory, life, and love will live on through all of us. We are her legacy of LOVE.
Lela Ann Barber Manning passed away on October 8, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas.