Gary was born in Chicago, IL, the oldest of six children to Edward and Evelyn (Madsen) Manda. His love of hunting, trapping, and fishing came from growing up in a neighborhood surrounded by woods, the Chicago River, and spending summers on his grandmother’s farm in Wisconsin. His love of all things outdoors was handed down to his children and grandchildren. He worked in the Taxidermy Department for the Chicago Field Museum before beginning his career in cinematography at AGS&R Studios. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1960 and was stationed at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma until 1962. He returned to AGS&R studios and worked on award-winning presentations for WTTW–Chicago Public Television, and numerous commercials including BIC Lighters, Flair Pens, Koogle Peanut Butter, and Frosted Flakes.
In 1959 he married Marilyn Timm; they had four children. While on a road trip through Canada and the Pacific Northwest, Gary fell in love with Idaho. In 1978, the family relocated from Chicago to Boise where he worked in audio-visual until becoming self-employed with his lawn and grounds maintenance business, meeting and working for many special people. Self-employment also allowed him to spend time hunting and fishing in just a few of his favorite places: Unit 39 and the Little Salmon River. He could repurpose anything that needed repair and was always on the lookout for treasures to bring home. Gary passed away while visiting family in Arizona. He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, and son Michael G. Manda. He is survived by his wife, Marilyn, children Elizabeth (Paul) Peterson, Christi (Larry) Webb, and Erick (Gina) Manda, eight grandchildren, two great-grandsons, 5 step-grandchildren, and 4 step-great-grandchildren. He is also survived by siblings: LoraLee (Harold) Sokel, Michael, Judy (Ed) Griffith, and Paul (Antonia) as well as numerous In-laws, nieces and nephews.
In remembering their grandfather his grandchildren said: “You lived a life of adventure and every story of you ends in laughter” (Cody Peterson); “Words few, I’ll recall, Always a shuffle and grunt, An ember for all” (Alexander Peterson); “The big man upstairs better be prepared because he is going to have his hands full” (Zachary Mousner); “You knew when he entered the room, it quickly filled with more laughter, more joy with his presence” (Kyle Peterson); “Creative, Funny, Joking– ‘lay in the street and count mufflers’, enthusiastic, loving, always falling asleep while watching TV at counter” (Patrick Vincent); “I will love my Papa forever. His wit, personality, and humor will never be replaced” (Cheyenne Manda); “Don’t step in it” (Max Webb); “Adventurous, Courageous, Inventive, Persistent, Reliable, An old soul, Easy-going, Industrious, Thick-skinned, Creative, Brave, Efficient, Imaginative, Helpful, Resourceful” (Cole Manda). Interment at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation (ifwf.org). Family and friends gathering on July 4, 2018. Contact Marilyn Manda for more information.