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In Memoriam

Dorothea Ayers Mancke

(Photo Provided)

Wappingers Falls, New York —Dorothea A. Mancke peacefully passed away on January 7, 2024 in the home of her daughter, Nancy McManus, with family by her side at the age of 100 years young. She was born in the Bronx to Arthur Wacker and Ethel Buggeln Wacker in 1923.

Dorothea is predeceased by her husband, Henry G. Mancke, brother Arthur Wacker, daughter-in-law Norma Mancke and grandson Scott McManus.

She is survived by her children, Dorothea Mancke in Sahuarita, Arizona; Henry A.P. (Susan) Mancke in Ithaca, New York; Nancy (Thomas) McManus in Wappingers Falls, New York; grandchildren Brian (Jennifer) Mancke, Bradley (Aubrey) Mancke, Robert Mancke, and Kathleen (Joseph) McManus-Fayo, Heather Thomas, Abby Thomas (Eric Chapman), and John Thomas; and great-grandchildren Sullivan, Adia, Ruby, Azalea, Enzo, Connor, Inara, Julia, Emma, Eva, and Theo.

Dorothea is celebrated as Mom, Grandma, Grams, Grandma Dot, Momma Dot, and Mrs. Mancke to many and loved by all; her smile and beautiful blue eyes will be remembered fondly.

When she was 8 years old, Dot and her family walked on the George Washington Bridge the day it opened. She graduated from Walton High School in the Bronx, with graduation held at Carnegie Hall. Dot went on to work at the American Bank Note Company while taking college courses. 

Dorothea married Henry Mancke in 1948 when he returned from serving in WW2, honeymooning in the Appalachians. 

She was the last surviving member of her Lutheran Church Youth Group. They renamed themselves The SAMS, The Society for the Advancement of Merriment. They tried to meet every year for almost 80 years for a weekend in the autumn. The SAMS and their spouses would have hors d’oeuvres, Manhattans, whiskey, wine, and dinner, tell bawdy jokes, and share HUGS with all. Many of their children and grandchildren would join them for an afternoon of frivolity and dinner.

Dorothea and Henry moved upstate, involving themselves in community activities. Dot was a member of the Charlotte Valley Rebekah Lodge #393 I.O.O.F. 1955-1978, Past Noble Grand in 1960-1961, District Deputy President 1966-1967. She joined the Oneonta Martha Chapter #116, Order of the Eastern Star in 1963, maintaining membership for the rest of her life. Dot held many chairs, including Worthy Matron 1972-1973, with Henry (32° Mason) as her Worthy Patron.

Mrs. Mancke was a 4-H leader for the Rainbow Valley 4-H Club, instructing both daughters and other girls in the neighborhood on all things sewing, cooking, manners, and presenting themselves with confidence. 

Dot was a founding member of the Pindars Corners Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, and was certified as an EMT in 1970. She was a 50+-year member of the Davenport Board of Elections. Dot was also involved with the Davenport Historical Society.

Mrs. Mancke and her husband, Henry, were advisors to the Luther League at the Lutheran Church of the Atonement in Oneonta, New York for many years. Together, they chaperoned the youth group to the National Luther League Convention in Atlantic City in the mid ‘60s.

Dorothea went back to work in 1969 when her children became self-sufficient. She started at SUNY Oneonta as a camera woman, then working in the control room in the TV studios, working her way to become the media assistant. Dot then transitioned to be the assistant and eyes for Professor Dr. Ray Rainville in the Psychology Department, until her retirement in 2009.

After retirement, Dorothea loved to cruise, enjoying a trip through the Panama Canal, and another time parasailing in the Bahamas when she was 80 years young. She spent many winters visiting her daughter in Arizona.

Grandma Dot was a volunteer at many JDRF events to honor the memory of her grandson, Scott. At walks, she would be the person you saw to get a T-Shirt; at galas, she would be the first to bid on a basket of wine. And she told everyone about all the years she would volunteer in Death Valley at the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes and hand out medals and cold wet rags to the finishers.

Dot loved lighthouses and was able to take a day cruise on the Hudson River to learn lighthouse history, feeling the wind in her hair and having a big smile on her face the whole time. And she loved to ride the carousel at The Farmers Museum in Cooperstown for her birthday for many years, even climbing on a horse at the Bear Mountain Carousel for her 95th birthday! 

Grandma loved making her special Thanksgiving stuffing and her tomato conserve relish with family, and she loved pansies in the spring and mums in the fall.

The family would like to thank Hudson Valley Hospice for their care and support. Jennifer, Dawn, Alison, Colleen, Dee and Amanda—you are the best.

A Celebration of Life of this wonderful soul will be held in the spring. Please feel free to make a donation in her name to a charity of your choice, Hudson Valley Hospice or the JDRF.

Arrangements are under the direction of Straub, Catalano & Halvey Funeral Home, 55 East Main Street, Wappingers Falls, New York. To send the family a personal condolence, please visit


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