Philip M. Manley, 89, died of natural causes on Jan. 5, 2014, in Helena, Mont. He was born in Willow Creek, Mont., on Sept. 2, 1924, the eldest child of Madge (Jenkins) Manley and Harvey D. Manley.
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Phil was raised on the family ranch three miles east of Pony. He was soon joined by two younger sisters, Clara and Jane. On Phil's twelfth birthday, his brother, Joe, was born. Phil lived on the ranch and attended Pony schools until October 1942, when he joined the U.S. Navy. He took training at Farragut, Idaho, where he said he spent "some of the happiest days of his life."
After schooling by the Navy, he served as an Aviation Ordinanceman First Class, Petty Officer on the USS Hoggatt Bay (CVE 75) until the end of the war. The Hoggatt Bay was a smaller aircraft carrier, which was involved in many "hunter-killer" operations, participating in the conquests of Saipan and Guam, and other battles, including providing air protection during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. He was honorably discharged in February 1946 and was proud of his military service but rarely spoke of it.
In the summer of 1947, he worked at Old Faithful in Yellowstone Park, where he met Isobelle Gene Phelan of Osburn, Idaho, who was working as a waitress at Old Faithful Lodge. They married in Bozeman on Feb. 15, 1948, and lived on the family ranch near Pony for almost three years. During that time, they had two sons, Philip M. Jr. and Lyle Robert.
In late 1950, the family moved to Long Beach, Calif., where Phil worked for Douglas Aircraft. While in California, a daughter, Jeanette Emily, was born. They moved back to Pony in June 1959 and then to Bozeman at the beginning of the school year. Phil began working for Western Maintenance as a janitor at the Buttrey Store in 1962. He was steadily promoted, and the family moved to Great Falls in August 1967, where he became the President of Western Maintenance in 1972.
He retired in 1981 and moved with Isobelle to Port Townsend, Wash., where they enjoyed their sailboat, often sailing to the San Juan Islands and beyond with family and friends. Later, they sold the sailboat and bought an RV. They traveled extensively, including trips across Canada to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, as well as extended trips to Mexico, the eastern U.S. and Texas. In 1996, Phil and Isobelle traveled around the world on a German container ship.
They returned to Montana in April 2005, living in Helena since that time.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Isobelle, his two sons, Philip, Jr. and Lyle (Anna Miller), his daughter, Jeanette (John) Williams, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. The body has been cremated and services will be held this spring or summer at the Pony Graveyard.
Donations may be made on the family's behalf to the Pony Homecoming Club, PO Box 654, Pony, MT 59747, or to a
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Jan. 14, 2014