Born in Washington D.C., and raised in Harrison, New York, Jim was the son of Marguerite Wise Manning, the daughter of dairy farmers, and James F. Manning, Jr., whose family’s stone company supplied the Colorado marble for the Lincoln Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknowns in Washington. A graduate of Deerfield Academy and Williams College, Jim served three years in the US Air Force, following the example of his father, a WWI fighter pilot who earned the Distinguished Service Cross after shooting down seven German fighter planes over Doulçon, France.
In his long career, Jim worked more than thirty years for IBM, and upon his retirement from the company in 1987 was Corporate Vice President of All Business Systems. Subsequently, he was a Senior Vice President of Marketing for the Rolm Corporation, and served as a consultant to Pitney Bowes, Inc., and Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association, among others. He was President and Chairman of the Board and CEO of Gevity HR, and served on the board of directors of Microdose Therapeutx.
A lifelong athlete, Manning was a pitcher for both the Deerfield Academy and the Williams College Varsity Baseball Teams, and also played on an Air Force base team in Dayton, OH. He was a member of the Silvermine Golf Club in Norwalk, CT, as well as the Apawamis Club- where as a student he worked as a greens-keeper-and the American Yacht Club, in Rye, NY, where he served on the board of directors. It was there, in 1954, during a summer job as a launch driver, that Jim espied the love of his life, Joan Morris, who ran a children’s play school at the club’s beach. They were married for sixty-one years. An artist and former board member of the Rowayton Arts Center, Joanie survives him. Jim also leaves three children, Kate, Jim, and Rob, and nine grandchildren: Carey, Oliver, and Eliza Dunne; Alison, James, and Spencer Manning; Reid, Colton, and Graham Manning; as well as his daughters-in-law Kim Crowther Manning and Laura Bruen Manning, and his son-in-law, Carey Dunne. His sister, Marylou Manning Thorburn, also survives him, as do sixteen nieces and nephews.
No resume can capture the twinkling of Jim Manning’s smile, his fierce love of family, his playfulness with children and dogs, or his ability to mangle the lyrics of his favorite songs-which included “Don’t Fence Me In” and “The Man on the Flying Trapeze.” With a competitive spirit and sense of humor that won him friends from barbershop to bridge table, Jim embodied the best of old-fashioned values: selflessness and honesty, humility and generosity, kindness above all.
A celebration of Jim’s life will be held Friday, August 19, at the Wee Burn Country Club, Darien, CT, 3-5:30 pm. The family has suggested that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to: