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280 Kane St. STE #2
South Williamsport, PA
United States

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Carrying the Name

For me, Father John was more than a priest. He was more than a supporter of our community. He was more than the man who walked with a boot with the Williamsport Fire Department during the Grand Slam Parade or the man who led prayers at the 9/11 Memorial Ride. He was more than the

For me, Father John was more than a priest. He was more than a supporter of our community. He was more than the man who walked with a boot with the Williamsport Fire Department during the Grand Slam Parade or the man who led prayers at the 9/11 Memorial Ride. He was more than the man who has married more couples than anyone I know. More than the man who offered unending support and guidance to everyone around him, whether they were part of his church or not.

Father John was family. A second cousin to be exact — his father, Don and my grandfather ‘Duck’ were brothers. But he never made a delegation in degrees of cousins — we were all just family.

Though the priesthood kept him from having children of his own, I still viewed him as the ‘patriarch’ of our family. He led our family with dignity and grace. Most importantly, he led our family with pride. He was so damn proud of each and every one us for a plethora of reasons.

I think that if Father John hadn’t become a priest, he would have made an excellent author. The man could tell stories like no one I’ve ever met. I can’t tell you the number of times I have sat around a kitchen table and listened to him, my Aunt Barb and other family tell stories of ‘the old neighborhood’ and life in ‘Little Italy.’ Or the stories of him growing up, or his time in New York, his adventures with ‘Fred,’ or any of the other many places he traveled through the years. And even as he got older, he could always recall the stories of days gone by.

He was also incredibly proud of his Italian roots and the history of our family.

I also think he would have made an outstanding teacher, as everyone who knew him, seemed to have learned something from him.

I have never told anyone about my familial connection to Father John without whomever I was talking to sharing a story about him with me. Anyone who knew him had something kind and thoughtful to say about the man. And let me tell you — it seems like everyone knew him.

I have watched his Facebook page over the last couple of days, and I am in absolute awe of the outpouring of love and condolences that have been sent to him and our family.

So please know we are seeing your posts and are so appreciative of them. So if you see me randomly reacting to your posts, just know it’s because I want you all to know that we see your tributes and while it would be impossible to respond to them all, I want to try to acknowledge as many as I can.

I also want to invite you to send your thoughts, memories, and stories to me. Not only because I enjoy reading about such an amazing man, but because we would like to publish as many of them as we can next week in a tribute to Father John. You can leave them on our Facebook page, or you can email them to webbnews@webbweekly.com.

Although it has been strange to explain over the years, Father John makes me proud to carry the Manno name with me always. My mom shared her name with me by making it my middle name to help carry on her family name. I will forever be thankful to carry that piece of my family with me.

The line on the front cover, “I am now part of a thousand winds that blow,” is from the poem, “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep” by Elizabeth Frye. Father John closed his funeral services with the poem and recently posted it as part of a Memorial Day tribute. This is the poem in its entirety.
Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

By Mary Elizabeth Frye
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

Though Father John will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and the community he is with each of always.

From the entire Manno family (and all of our connected families), we thank you for all the love and support from the whole community. It won’t be forgotten.

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    Michael Casale
    June 10, 2019, 4:35 pm

    Dear Steph,

    Thank you for your thoughts and memories of Father John you share with all who read Web Weekly. You have such a wonderful way of expressing yourself and make us all feel as though we are right there with you. I know your family feels proud, but there is no one more proud than Father John.

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