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Walter R. McManus, Jr.

Posted November 19, 2013 in Obituaries, Urbandale

July 2, 1928 – November 14, 2013

Walter McManus, Jr.

Walter McManus, Jr.

Walter R. McManus, Jr., 85, peacefully entered his eternal rest on Thursday, November 14, 2013, leaving a legacy to be treasured by his family, friends and numerous other souls his life touched.

Family will greet friends from 5 – 7 p.m. with a scriptural rosary at 7 p.m., Tuesday, November 19 at St. Pius X Church, Urbandale. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, November 20 at St. Pius with graveside services immediately following at Glendale Cemetery, and then, a luncheon at St. Pius.

An armed forces careerist and attorney in three distinct areas of practice — military, estate planning and worker’s compensation — Walt was foremost a man of faith, who instilled his love of God in his children and embodied it to the world in his numerous good works.

Known for his generosity and humility, he quietly gave away everything in his suitcases to those in need during his and his wife Mary’s many international travels over more than 30 years. He and Mary sponsored several children’s educations in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, teaching their children to be concerned for the welfare of others globally, while also serving as pen pals to their newfound brothers in Africa.

He had a love of the saints as well as Native American history. Upon the second of three professional retirements, he and Mary crisscrossed the nation to visit historic Native American sites for two months. Walter was also known as Walt, Junior, Mac, Grandpa Sugar, Papa and many other well-deserved endearments. Hundreds of family members and friends were honored to be part of Walt and Mary’s Christmas, Easter and Catholic Mass card “club” over the decades.

Walter served as a leader in his parish, St. Pius X, over the years, including president of the Holy Name Society and serving on the Board of Education and St. Vincent de Paul Society, as a CCD teacher to fifth graders, and as a lector and usher for nearly 50 years. He belonged to the YMCA for decades, swimming, jogging and/or walking miles weekly until the age of 80.

A Des Moines native, he was a proud alumnus of St. Augustine’s School, Class of 1937; Dowling Catholic High School, Class of 1946, and was a past president of the Dowling Club, of which he belonged nearly all of his adult life. Walter graduated from Creighton University College of Business in 1949 and Creighton’s College of Law with his Juris Doctorate in 1952.

He served in the U.S. Army, Judge Advocate General’s Corps for five years, active duty, and then 32 years as a reservist. Upon reaching 37 years of service, he retired as a Colonel, finalizing his last decade of service as Staff Judge Advocate of the 103rd Corps Support Command, Des Moines.

Walt began his civilian career as a claims adjuster for Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance in 1952. He served in several positions at Farm Bureau, including in advanced underwriting and estate planning. He earned many insurance-related designations and licenses. He then began a career as a Deputy Workers Compensation Commissioner for the State of Iowa, taking voluntary early retirement at the age of 75 in 2003.

Walt is survived by his wife of 60 years, Mary Eileen and his six children and their spouses: Dennis and wife Donna McManus of The Woodlands, TX; Julie and husband Tim Schupp of Minneapolis, MN; Lore and husband Jim Solo of Clive; Pat and wife Nancy McManus of Clive; Maureen and husband Tom Porth of Waterloo; and Steve and wife Lisa McManus of West Des Moines.

He will lovingly be remembered as an ardent supporter and attendee of family and school activities and the best grandpa ever by his 12 grandchildren and a great-granddaughter, Emileah Velasco. His grandchildren are: Meghan McManus, Caitlin McManus, Keeley McManus, Patrick Reilly, Emily Solo, Amanda Young, Nick Young, PJ McManus, Madison Porth, Robbie Porth, Eileen McManus and Michael McManus.

Walt was born July 2, 1928 at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines to Walter R. McManus, Sr. and Loretto Mary Donahoe McManus, both deceased. A brother, Robert, passed away in childhood at the age of 10.

The McManus Family expresses gratitude to the staff of Karen Acres Health Care Center for their care of and concern for Walt.

Memorials in Walt’s honor may be made to the Redemptorist Missions, the missionary order of which his brother-in-law, John E. Gouger, is a priest; Rock In Prevention, founded by his son Pat; or Dowling Catholic High School. Online condolences are welcome at


Information provided by:
Iles Funeral Homes
Westover Chapel
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA 50322

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