Dr. Andrew Manning

Our brother and friend, Dr. Andrew Manning, 42, Vice-President of the Joseph Plunkett–Joe McDonnell Division, Long Beach, California, died unexpectedly on Christmas Day 2014 at his home in Long Beach, California. Andrew was born and raised in Orange, CA and had lived in Long Beach for many years. For Andrew, though, as for so many Irishmen, the word “home” carries a singularly unique set of emotions.

Intellectually, he found a home as a lecturer in International Politics at the University of Southern California. In the process of writing a book on the Great Hunger, he was dedicated to making sure students of Irish history would no longer learn about “The Potato Famine” but “The Great Hunger.” I will always remember and honor his invocation on this. This past Easter Saturday, in the car on our way to commemorate the 1916 Easter uprising, I told my 22-year-old niece — a recent college graduate — “It wasn’t really a potato famine. There was actually enough food, but the British government restricted its distribution. It was more of a Great Hunger than a potato famine.” She had no idea.

Socially, his easy smile and quiet voice found a home in the company of the members of the Joseph Plunkett–Joe McDonnell Division, formed in Long Beach in 2009. One of our Division’s original members and one of its most committed, he helped initiate, and was the heart and soul of, a successful 2011-2014 campaign, which secured official proclamations in support of Irish Freedom from the Long Beach City Council and the Los Angeles police Emerald Society. He wore humility and unselfishness effortlessly, as if they were the natural fabric of his soul. Those of us who attended the 2014 commemoration of the 1916 Easter Uprising will never forget when he gathered us around after the event and emptied his piggy bank of coins on a table for a charitable cause he was sending the money to, and asked us to do the same. The coins went everywhere. As Beckett might say, he was poor; he was a man of great wealth.

And when he kneeled at a pew in a Catholic Church and closed his eyes, which he did every day, he was spiritually most at home.

Many of the men AOH honors were taken young, yet left an indelible impression. When our revered Orange County President Jerry O’Keefe asked us to reflect in silence on the passing of Professor Manning this past Easter Saturday, tears filled the corners of the eyes of more than one man in the room.