Life celebration for Robert Manley is Sept. 19


A life celebration for Robert Manley is 2 to 4 p.m., Sept. 19 at the Midtown Holiday Inn, 2503 S. Locust Ave., in Grand Island. The event will look at Manley's life in song and story.

Manley, a former UNL instructor and Nebraska historian, died in October 2008 at age 80. The Sept. 19 celebration is being planned by friends and family, including Calvin Rife and son Bob Manley Jr.

Rife asks that those interested in attending RSVP as soon as possible to,, or (402) 471-1944.

"For a couple of hours we will be singing some of the songs he sang and reminiscing about his life and the impact he had on the people of Nebraska," Rife said. "Please come ready to share your stories and thoughts for we are going to celebrate what he loved the most... hearing from the people he devoted his life and career to."

"Beautiful Nebraska," "Little Old Sod Shanty on My Claim" and other songs were among Manley's repertoire. He hosted a program, "Nebraska Heritage," in the 1960s featuring topics on location around the state, and another, "Rails West," that explored the railroad's part in Nebraska's early history.

Manley was born in Wisconsin, grew up near Chicago and moved to Belleville, Kan., in 1950. He taught English and history in Nebraska high schools before earning a doctorate in history at the University of Nebraska in 1962. He taught at UNL and in Scottsbluff. He wrote several books and articles on Nebraska, the West, and pioneer history. He later worked for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development and at Stuhr Museum in Grand Island.