My father, Richard Manke, is a great man and I have learned much from him. He was a teacher by vocation but it was also his mission. He guided people from where they were to where they needed to be.
He started his career as a licensed architect, however he decided after only a few years that he would take a position at Columbia Basin College teaching architectural drawing, engineering, and surveying. He worked there for almost 30 years. His students came from many different backgrounds. Many of them were in difficult circumstances and many lived in poverty. Because of the skills he taught them, they went from subsistence living to professional jobs with a good wage and benefits. When I became a student at CBC, his students would tell me all he had done for them.
He was promoted to department head and eventually to dean of Computer Science. He helped take his department from pencils and papers to AutoCAD on computers. He served on many committees and was active in the community at planning meetings.
His career was much of who he is so you have to understand some of it to understand him as a dad. He helped people gain the skills to be independent and successful and he was very deliberate in making sure I got the skills I would need. He made sure I would be able to support myself and my children if I ever had to.
For all the skills he had, he never inflated his ability. If he said he could do it, he could. If he couldn't, he knew that, too.
I never heard him scream or yell at anyone. He was always the calm voice in any circumstance that helped opposing views find common ground. He held his ground when necessary. He wasn't afraid of conflict.
He never stopped learning new skills and new technology. Today, he manages technology for our small business and he is planting an orchard.
I'm still learning from him. Last spring, we designed a sprinkler system together. Thanks, Dad. What do we conquer next?
-- Alysia Schwarz, Richland