Garnet Louise Manning joined her husband in Heaven on July 24. She was 86 years old. Born in 1933 to Albert and Delphia Clark, she was the second youngest of ten children. She grew up in Loveland, Colo., in a large, loving, hard working family who always looked out for each other. It was a legacy that she would carry on for her whole life.
In 1948, when she was fifteen, Garnet met the love of her life, Paul Manning. And just as soon as she graduated from high school in 1951, this small town girl got on a train all by herself and headed to South Carolina where Paul was serving in the U.S. Army. They got married just as soon as she got there, and that was the sealing of a powerful and inseparable bond that lasted their whole lives.
As soon as Paul’s tour of duty was completed, the young couple moved back to Colorado and started ranching. In the high country of North Park they lived in a rough mountain cabin that had no heat or running water. Garnet jumped into her strange new life head first, learning to cook and bake on a wood burning stove and keep a house without any of the usual conveniences. She had to plan meals when supplies only came once a month, sweeten gruff ranch managers with her yummy chocolate chip cookies, and try to fit into a small, tight community that didn’t know what to think of this “city” girl.
By 1957 Paul and Garnet had four children, Rita, Cliff, Kelly and Dan. They were all born almost a hundred miles from the ranch in Laramie, Wyo., because that was the closest town with hospital.
In those early years, taking care of those babies, cooking for hay crews and loving her husband pretty much filled her life. Surprisingly, Garnet, who always had an artist’s eye, somehow, fit sewing beautiful creations of her own design and oil painting into her busy schedule. She dressed her children and painted pictures of her surroundings – the mountains, the cows and flowers.
The Manning family lived and worked on a couple different mountain ranches before moving to Tomichi Ranch in Gunnison, Colo., in 1968. They would live there for the rest of their lives together. They ranched and they started a real estate business that ended up connecting them to their community in a very special way. Their clients became their friends and those relationships were eventually woven so tightly that friends and family became the same fabric.
Paul and Garnet became surrogate parents, grandparents, mentors and community partners. Garnet hugged everybody. She loved them and she nurtured them. And she fed them, seemingly effortlessly. One or two or five more at her table was just fine.
For many years, Garnet was a property manager and a realtor, but when she wasn’t in the office, she was sewing a beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces of clothing for her family or working in her gardens.
Garnet will go down in everyone’s memory for the magnificent gardens that wrapped themselves all the way around her house. She defied all the rules of nature by growing traffic-stopping delphiniums and poppies and daisies in places they weren’t meant to grow. Many weddings and celebrations, including the marriages of all four of her children were hosted in her mountain high gardens. Close your eyes. You can still see the ranch house surrounded by wildly, joyously blooming flowers.
Garnet will be loved and remembered forever by her children and her grandchildren, her friends and even the strangers who drove past her beautiful blooms and her inviting looking home.
Garnet is survived by her children, Rita and Mark Macomber, Cliff and Debi Manning, Kelly and John Bailey and Dan Manning; ten grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and two on the way.
She’s smiling down on all of us…
In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to the Gunnison Pioneer Museum in memory of Garnet. A celebration of life is planned in Fort Collins for Sept.
14. Please watch the paper for a possible service in Gunnison to follow.
You can contact the family at