George Edwin Manning | Southeast Iowa Union

George Edwin Manning


George Edwin Manning, 71, of Keosauqua, passed away peacefully on Friday November 18, 2022.

surrounded by his

beloved family and close friends.

He was born in Keosauqua on April 10, 1951 to John Albert and Evelyn (Trink) Ovrom Manning. He was one of the first babies born at the new Van Buren County Hospital, the fourth of seven children, and the cutest little black haired boy you would ever see. His family also had a foreign exchange student from Vietnam in 1965-1966, the first in Van Buren County.

The Manning siblings enjoyed a Norman Rockwell-style childhood in the 1950s. They grew up in a neighborhood full of kids around the Keosauqua Post Office and later in the big yellow house next to Van Buren High School. It was in the yellow house that George spent his teenage years and somehow managed to be regularly late for school. The memories of her years in this home are endless, not only for family but also for her many friends.

While at school, George met his future wife Ona Kathleen (Kathy) Kerr, a transplant from Tennessee. The Kerr family ran what was then known as the Van Buren County Care Facility and over the years lived there as well as in a large farmhouse near the River Road in the Douds area. Each of these places also became a big part of his life, and legend has it that George hiked all the way from town to the county home once or twice to see his girl. They married on June 14, 1972 and celebrated their 50th anniversary this year.

Soon after marriage, George and Kathy became parents to three daughters, Maggie in 1975, Katie in 1979 and Beth in 1982. They raised them in Keosauqua, an upbringing that is close to their hearts. Growing up with George meant acquiring an unwanted expertise in his favorite music, particularly the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel and Bob Dylan. If you were a friend of the girls, you were a victim of it by default and probably still think of him to this day when you hear any of their songs on the radio.

In 1979, George began working at the family bank, then known as Farmers State Bank. During this time he worked in all areas and eventually became bank president, a role from which he retired after 41 years of dedication to the business. During this time, George made even more friends, both from colleagues and customers. Friendship was a central theme in George’s wonderful life as he never knew a stranger and would often (much to his family’s dismay) take the time to talk to anyone, regardless of the family’s schedule.

If anyone was dedicated to where he lived, it was George. Throughout his life he was associated in some way with the Riverview Club, Van Buren County Foundation, Indian Hills Community College Board of Trustees, Van Buren County Hospital Board of Trustees, Bruce Rex Vale Foundation, Keosauqua City Council and the Van Buren Telephone Connected Board, Keosauqua Rotary, Birmingham Lions Club, Villages of Van Buren County, Keosauqua Chamber of Commerce, Indian Hills Community College Foundation, Keosauqua Light & Power Board, Purdom Cemetery Board and probably many more that we forgot. He and his brother John were named Keosauqua Citizens of the Year in 2011 and received the 2019 Dr. Indian Hills Community College Jim Lindenmeyer Award for Outstanding Leadership. He even had a brief tenure as mayor of Keosauqua. George was very proud of his community and the love shown to him in it

His illness made it clear that he was loved right back.

George was unique. His easy-going personality, loving nature and infectious laugh drew people in. His favorite pastimes included listening to music, reading whenever he could, watching the Iowa Hawkeyes and the St. Louis Cardinals, and most importantly, playing golf. He was thrilled to play at California’s Pebble Beach golf course in 2021. Bucket list item, ticked.

Aside from all his accomplishments, world travels and the countless friends he has made over the years, George’s greatest love was his family, especially his seven grandchildren. He adored them all and loved nothing more than to be present at as many of their functions as possible. He enjoyed watching them grow up and being able to be a part of all their individual successes. If you ever catch yourself watching one of them perform or compete, cheer in their memory.

Before George are his parents, John and Trink Manning; and older sister, Ann Manning.

All he has left is his wife Kathy; daughters Maggie (Josh) Cocherell of Keosauqua, Katie Nichols of Keosauqua, Beth (Barry) Fulton of McCall, Idaho; and his childhood best friend, Doug (Delilah) Archibald of Naples, Florida. His favorite children, Will Cocherell, Maddie Cocherell, Joey Nichols, Ben Cocherell, Scarlet Nichols, Jay Fulton & Georgia Fulton. His AFS daughters and their families, Elly Biffi from Como, Italy and Barbara Graf from Zurich, Switzerland. His siblings John (Lynn) and Matt (Judy) from Keosauqua, David (Janet) from Austin, TX, Ab (Kim) from Lansing, Michigan, Liz Edwards from Bettendorf, Mai (Ham) Nguyen from Boca Raton, Florida, and theirs Familys. Close lifelong friend John (Peggy) Brothers of Columbia, Missouri; and his loyal golfing buddies Terry, Jeff, Jake and Dave, all of whom probably still owe him money. He also leaves his 20-year-old four-legged daughter Tipper the cat at home. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Kathy and his host of previous animal children, most notably Max, the yellow lab of Laplander’s fame, and Moda the mutt, Van Buren High School’s unofficial mascot.

Services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 22 at the Methodist Church in Keosauqua, with Rev. Herbert Shafer and Rev. Mary Kathryn Hart officiating. Burial will follow at Purdom Cemetery, Keosauqua and we will gather for a Celebration of Life at Hotel Manning, Keosauqua that evening from 4pm Email George Stories for future keepsakes at [email protected] com. Online condolences can also be shared at

Anyone interested in making a donation to a memorial in George’s name may be referred to the Van Buren Foundation or the Indian Hills Community College Foundation for future grant purposes, or to the George Manning Memorial for donations to be determined at PO Box 554, Keosauqua, IA 52565. Just as important as carrying on his legacy through financial donations is to continue it by treating everyone with patience and kindness, just as he did. We hope that you will consider one day performing an unexpected act of kindness on his behalf. Our hearts are broken but we know he left our community and this world a better place.