Richard Manatt
December 13, 1931 - April 13, 2018

Richard Manatt

Richard Manatt
Dec 13, 1931 - Apr 13, 2018

Richard Manatt
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Dick Manatt, 86, died April 13, 2018 at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames. A gathering of friends and family will take place on Thursday, April 26th from 1:00-2:00 p.m. at Collegiate United Methodist Church 2622 Lincoln Way, Ames, IA 50014, with a celebration of life to follow at 2:00p.m. at Collegiate United Methodist Church.

He was born December 13, 1931, in Odebolt, Iowa, to William Price Manatt and Lucille Helen (Taylor) Manatt. The next year he moved with his parents to Atlanta, Georgia. He started school in Chicago, Illinois, and returned to Iowa (Audubon) in 1942. He graduated from Audubon High School in 1949 and received bachelor's and master's degrees from Iowa State College in 1953 and 1956. It seemed ordained that he would attend Iowa State College as his father had. Advised that to become a professor at ISC he should get his PhD elsewhere and prove himself in his profession, Dick completed a PhD at the University of Iowa and was a soldier, high school teacher, counselor, vice principal and principal before joining the ISU faculty in 1964. He retired in 2002 as University Professor Emeritus and former Chair of Educational Administration and Supervision in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. During the 1977-78 academic year he served as distinguished visiting professor at California State University Los Angeles.

The 1960s and 1970s were a time of explosive growth in schools, community colleges and universities. Antiwar activities and counterculture protest made campus life interesting. Bob Parks, ISU's longtime president, asked Dick to chair the Council for Student Affairs that was tasked with keeping protest activities peaceful. The five-year term included Don Smith's attempt to "drag ISU into the twentieth century," the firing of the dean of students, the bombing of the police department at Ames City Hall, and a copycat protest following the Kent State disaster.

National concern about the quality of elementary and secondary schools led to Dick's career-long focus and research on performance evaluation of teachers and school administrators. He conducted workshops and conferences on his findings throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, the Canal Zone, and the Pacific Rim. He made audiotape instructional series and video-based instructions on procedures for removing marginal teachers.

He founded a dissemination office called the School Improvement Model (SIM). Many of his PhD candidates were employed as research associates in SIM. Every chance Dick had before an audience created an opportunity to recruit graduate students for the College of Education. In all, he recruited, chaired, and graduated 177 PhDs. His numerous awards included the Regents Award for Faculty Excellence, the Margaret White Graduate Faculty Award, and the NAACP President's Award.

During the fall semester of 1995, Dick and his wife Jackie traveled around the world studying public, independent and/or Department of Defense Schools in 17 countries. He also served as an instructor and consultant on the topics of performance appraisals and school improvement in Germany, Kuwait, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea and Japan.

Dick was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Charles Manatt. He is survived by his wife, Jackie Manatt, Ames, and his first wife, Sally Jo (Johnson) Manatt, Phoenix AZ. He is also survived by daughters Tammy Jo Nathan, Phoenix, AZ, Ann Lea Manatt, Davis CA, son Joel Price Manatt, Phoenix AZ, and daughter Megan Manatt (Ryan) Lordos, Arlington VA. Also by four grandchildren, Bryan Carl Nathan, Olivia London Lordos, Canela-Jayne Marleny Lordos, and Zavier Price Lordos.

Memorials may be directed to the Richard P. Manatt Fellowship Fund at the Iowa State University Foundation, 2505 University Blvd., Ames IA 50010.

Online condolences may be directed to

Gordon K Dahlby, PhD '04 on May 26, 2018

At my final defense in 2004, Dr. Manatt announced to his peers that I was his last PhD he would shepherd through. I was honored. He never scolded me for being so slow at finishing, though I am sure I tested even his infinite patience. Thank you, Dr. Manatt.

Scarlett Rehrig on May 2, 2018

Jackie and family. It is with a sad heart that we are now are only left with fond memories of our beloved Major Professor. Dick was so dear to our DoDDs Family. You were a part of it. He saw each of us to our degrees. I will always remember my alma mater, ISU and the man who brought us there.
Love, Scarlett

David Putz on Apr 27, 2018

Dr. Manatt (Dick) had a profound impact on my life. As teachers do, I was attending an inservice where he was one of the presenters. As chance would have it, he and I ended up in the rest room at the same time during a break. He struck up a conversation, asked about my interests, what I taught, etc. and before we left he encouraged me to come to ISU. Though it didn't work out that year, the following year I ended up in Ames.

I fondly remember his classes and how he often positioned a conversation so you all but fell into learning something important. As my major professor I recall a brief meeting where I said I couldn't find any research related to my topic, and with a slight tilt of his head and a smile he said something like, "You mean in all of human history no one has ever thought to ask your question or something close to it?" One of those "A ha" moments. I also recall his direct method of getting me to complete my dissertation - he told me his was going to retire soon so if I wanted him to continue to be my major professor, I better hurry. Another one of those "A ha" moments I will always remember.

His dedication to learning and students was amazing. His willingness and focus on sharing his knowledge, in many ways, was unique. I am a much better person for having known him and been guided by him. He was indeed a blessing.

My thoughts and prayers to Jackie and the family.

David Putz, Ames, IA (Class of 2000)

Larry Moeller on Apr 26, 2018

"forever young for a .....", Dick's persona and legacy endures as idol to emulate. His "old Joe Gettys" aphorisms have stuck forever. Dick never gave up, whether faced with personal adversity or in exacting the best from we student wards. Reading his memoir has illuminated how much our "Iowa boy" cultural roots effected similar life choices and outcomes. As one who also served as his Grad Assistant ('70-'73) & was his longest running ABD (#85 finishing at 10 yrs after he delivered an edict), & meeting his goal of a "compact" 100 page dissertation, I owe my 33 yr career in higher education to Dick's grantsmanship mentoring, unwavering confidence and fatherly sheparding, and to Jackie's editing skills. (Larry Moeller, Greenwood, CA)

Judy Weiland on Apr 25, 2018

Jackie and family, I have many fond memories of Dr. Manatt
when I was employed as Secretary for the School Improvement
Model Projects from 1981 - 1991. In 1983 my husband, Doug,
was transferred to eastern Iowa. Dick wrote me an outstanding
letter of recommendation which helped me obtain a position
at the University of Iowa. In 1986, Doug was promoted to a USDA
position in the Ames area. I contacted Dick to see if there were
any positions he knew that were available. He said he would hire
me back to work for SIM as they had an opening. I was very pleased
to come back to work with colleagues I was familiar with and very
grateful to Dick. He was a great person to work under and had a
great personality and sense of humor.

I remember lunches and great conversations about many topics
ranging from sports, movies, books, and cars to education and
politics. Dick was very knowledgeable in these and many others.

I remember seeing Dick in the early mornings at the Lied
Recreation Center. I also remember many of the 177 PhDs
he graduated. He was their Major Professor and he called
me their "Major Mom" as I was responsible for processing
all of their paperwork for graduation.

Dick was Iowa State. He had a real passion for teacher and
administrator evaluation. He will be missed by many who knew him.

I feel honored to have worked for Dick and to have known
him. I will be thinking of you, Jackie, and all of your family
as I am unable to be there tomorrow.

Take comfort in knowing that Dick is now at peace and with
his Savior, Jesus Christ.

Judy Welland
April 25, 2018

Ken and Carolynne Palmer on Apr 24, 2018

Jackie, we are saddened by Dick's passing, and our thoughts are with you and your family in this time of grief and loss. As we reflect, we are so thankful that both you and Dick have been a part of our lives over all these years. For me and so many others, Dick was a mentor, a colleague, a task master, a friend and confidant, and always the consummate professor and gentleman. Dick has had a profound impact on the professional lives of so many of us. It was his voice that carried the message of professional accountability in schooling literally around the world, long before it became a part of our professional dialogue. Dick was an Iowa Stater to the core. His many friends and colleagues, the profession of schooling, and Iowa State will miss his presence. Ken and Carolynne Palmer

Steve Nance on Apr 24, 2018

As one of Dick's 177 Ph.D. students, I want to offer condolences to his family and say thank you for sharing him with so many of us. I owe a big debt of gratitude to Dick for seeing me through my program of study, my dissertation, and putting up with me long distance after I moved from Iowa to Arizona and needed the time to finish my program. I learned so much from Dick during my time at ISU - knowing him was a blessing. Steve Nance, Chandler, AZ

Joe Millard on Apr 24, 2018

Jackie and family: I was sad to learn of Dick’s death. I was one of Dick’s 177 graduate students that he recruited to attend Iowa State University. His leadership and vision for education will be missed in Iowa and the United States. I am very thankful for Dick’s assistance in my working in education and in widening my experiences because of his vision. He was a leader in encouraging educators to look at successful practices in other professions that could be profitable to educators and to be comfortable in trying new educational practices. I appreciated his advice and assistance. Joe Millard

Tim Hoffman on Apr 23, 2018

Jackie and Family - I was sad to hear of Dick's passing. He was a great mentor to me and helped this Ph.D #150 finish a stalled dissertation. Years later you and Dick even took the time to attend my retirement party in Adel. He was a national and international speaker, yet willing to provide training for our small school faculty. Dick made a positive difference for countless students by encouraging educators to make continuous improvement. May you find comfort in the words of our Lord. Tim Hoffman, Adel

Robert Farr on Apr 20, 2018

I had the greatest admiration for Dick. He was always the gentleman and dapper as could be. Such a life of dedication. Jackie, may you and family be upheld in this time by our loving Lord's Presence with you. Bob Farr

Jim Sweeney on Apr 18, 2018

Dick was a one of a kind.. ISU Ed Ad folks can tell Dick Manatt stories until the Iowa cows home. How about the baggage checkers at the Des Moines airport rushing by the governor to check in Dick’s legendary trunk because he tipped better than the governor? He was a force; brilliant, creative & visionary; gifted speaker & presenter; entrepreneur par excellence. Dick brought ISU Ed Ad to a unique and special place. Students from across the world came to Ames to be on the cutting edge and learn with him. And 177 Ph.Ds and countless others took what they learned and changed the lives of thousands of students. Over the course of my fifteen years at ISU Dick and I worked in countless school districts, sat on too many airplanes and committees, drank too much wine together, and had lots of fun at the Jackie & Dick parties. He shared with me his pride in his children and gave their moms much of the credit. We often talked about how to change the world for all kids. I learned a lot from Dick. He made a difference!

[email protected]. Living in Raleigh North Carolina and Graeagle, California.

Les and Barbara Omotani on Apr 17, 2018

Jackie and family, We send our hugs and love to all of you. A legion of teachers and educational leaders mourn the loss of a great teacher and mentor. Dick positively changed the lives of children and families throughout the world! We will soon join you in mourning his passing and celebrating his life! Take care, Les and Barbara Omotani

Jamie Ferrare on Apr 16, 2018

Jackie, Megan and Family - We are so sorry to learn that Dick passed; a true giant has left us. Please accept our sincere sympathy and know that you, Dick and the entire Manatt family are in our prayers and thoughts. Dick impacted lives, changed lives and inspired a generation of educational leaders - and was a mentor and good friend. His legacy is secure and will live-on through his many students, colleagues and family. We shall miss him and look forward to sharing our sympathy at services in his honor on April 26. Love to you all, Jamie and Barbara Ferrare

Ann Manatt on Apr 16, 2018

Dad enjoying his grandkids.



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Collegiate United Methodist Church
2622 Lincoln Way
Ames, Iowa 50010
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM


Collegiate United Methodist Church
2622 Lincoln Way
Ames, Iowa 50010
2:00 PM

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