‘A giver’: Alvester Manning, Army veteran and counselor in Kansas City, dies at 67

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Editor’s note: This feature is part of a weekly focus from The Star meant to highlight and remember the lives of Black Kansas Citians who have died.

Michael Jackson’s Rock with You played nearly every morning when Alvester Manning drove down Highway 635 to take his children to school. Manning, whistling to the song, would have his children in awe as they smiled from ear-to-ear.

“He would whistle that instrumental part in the middle so perfectly,” Alia Manning, Alvester’s daughter said. “I thought he was the coolest dad on the planet.”

Memories like this are one of many the Manning kids have with their father.

“He loved hanging out with family,” Adam Manning, Alvester’s son said. “I remember us watching The Lion King for the first time and recreating that scene with Simba on his dad’s back. I’d be like ‘Dad, you’ll always be with me right’ and he was like ‘Yeah, we’d always be together,’” Adam said with a laugh.

From music to movies and even Manning’s infamous Chocolate Fudge Brownies and his crispy pancakes, his bond with his children was one filled with love, kindness and wisdom.

“He gave constant advice. We were best friends,” Adam said.

Manning passed away on October 8. He was 67.

He was born on April 12, 1954, to James and Maggie Singleton. He was the youngest of seven children.

Alvester Manning died Oct. 8. He was 67.
Alvester Manning died Oct. 8. He was 67.

Manning graduated from Wyandotte High School in 1972, briefly attending the University of Kansas before joining the United States Army.

He married Shelia Hanna in 1975. The couple had three children: Alia, Alan and Adam.

“He was in the Army for three years and in the reserves for three years,” Alia said. “When he was deployed, he was building bridges.”

Once Manning was discharged from the Army, he began working at several factories. Family says he was a hardworking man.

Manning became an HIV/AIDS outreach educator with the American Red Cross. His family says the position was one of his favorites.

“Being that it was the early 90’s and that was the epidemic at the time, he always wanted to help people and counsel,” Adam said.

Manning’s children say their father was always the go-to person for advice for anyone he crossed paths with. They add he was great at keeping people’s confidences.

“He was always providing wisdom, nice words and words of advice,” Adam said.

He says his father made an impact through his work as an outreach educator and later as a substance abuse and addictions counselor at Benilde Hall.

“He had a without judgment thing,” Alia said of her father, who at one point struggled with his own adversities. “He’d tell them ‘I’ve been there and done that, and I’m here to share the message of how you can be clear and free of it as well.’”

Manning’s children says their father was a man of many quotes and mottos.

“I remember me and him came up with the quote, ‘It is what it is until it ain’t’, basically meaning it might look this right now, but it’s not always going to look like this whether if it’s good or bad and that the only thing constant is change,” Adam said.

Another quote Manning would often say was “Help me enjoy the blessing.”

“He was such a giver,” Adam said. “Anytime he got anything extra, it was like help me enjoy this money. He would always give it to grandchildren or his kids or step grandchildren.”

“I had 45 years with an amazing father and a lot of people don’t even get that,” Alia said.

He leaves behind his wife, Shelia Manning; children, Alia Manning, Alan Manning and Adam Manning; bonus children, Resha and Brandy; grandchildren, Christian, Alijah, Emya, Nikko and Destynee; siblings, John, David and his sister Naomi. He had many lifelong friends whom he regarded and treated like family, and a host of nieces and nephews who loved and admired their “Uncle Al.”

Other remembrances

George Carter

George Carter was born on October 29, 1936, in Okolona, Ark., to David Carter and Roberta Gary.

He attended elementary school in Piney Ridge, Ark., graduating from Henry Bell High School in 1956.

Carter accepted Christ at an early age. He attended Piney Ridge Baptist Church and was an active member. While in Arkansas, he met Mozella Wright and they developed a close friendship. In 1961 they married in Kansas City, Missouri. The couple was married for 59 years.

In 1973, he began working for TWA as a tech serviceman. Family says he was a hardworking, dedicated employee who enjoyed his job. He was also a member of TWA’s Black Caucus. He retired with 25 years of service.

Carter was also a member of the Master Mason Rising Sun Lodge #7. Family says he was a quiet person, but fun to be around and talk to. He had a love for family gatherings and cars.

He leaves his wife Mozella Carter, his sister Alberta Standifer, one grandson and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Barbara Ann Riley

Barbara Ann Riley was born on February 16, 1943 in Fort Worth, Texas, to Taylor and Sammie Bell.

She attended Manual High School, later having a successful career as an environmental services supervisor for GSA. She retired with over 25 years of service.

She married Corydon Riley in 1960 and they had four children.

Barbara Ann Riley
Barbara Ann Riley

Family says she loved crafts and food. She enjoyed making jewelry and cards. As for her love of food, family says she was all about her chicken. She enjoyed cooking and especially loved greens with her Sunday dinners.

She was a devoted mother and grandmother. She also loved her church family and had formed special bonds. Family says she would often bless her family and friends with her homemade peanut clusters and handmade cards.

She leaves behind daughters Kathryn and Tracy Riley, daughter-in-law, Barbara Riley, grandchildren, Ebonie Walker, Shardonay Riley and Alexis Riley, great grandchildren, Sterling, Ashton, Jimmya and Cordie Walker and Michael Christian III. She also leaves a host of other relatives and friends who will miss her.

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