James Mannel had a wide spectrum of interests and was always interested in learning something new or teaching others about what he had learned, said his wife of 53 years, Ruth Mannel.
“His whole life was teaching,” she said. “He would always find something to talk to people about.”
James Mannel, 78, of Valparaiso, died Sept. 5.
He was a teacher for 53 years, with stints at schools in Flint, Mich., Clinton, Iowa, and Fort Wayne and Bremen, Ind. He also had been a teacher at Immanuel Lutheran School in Valparaiso and Andrean High School in Merrillville. His last job was teaching in the Parks to School Program with the Porter County Parks Department and working for Indiana Dunes Tourism.
Mannel loved going to Notre Dame football games and to Valparaiso University basketball games. He also enjoyed announcing Valparaiso High School gymnastics meets.
He loved going to state and national parks, and enjoyed hiking and camping.
He was enthusiastic about traveling, and especially enjoyed taking the back roads. One trip, he took U.S. 6 from the east coast back home. He also took the back roads from Glacier National Park in Montana.
“He liked to see the country, and flat lands weren’t boring to him,” she said. “He found beauty in everything.”
Mannel loved to read, especially National Geographic.
“He wanted to see all of the United States, but he never desired to leave the country,” Ruth Mannel said. “He had been to all the states except Hawaii.”
Ruth Mannel said her husband grounded himself in his faith and in his family.
“He was always interested in people,” she said.