(April 2) They don’t make ’em like Jimmie Manson anymore.
Born in 1921 to Syrian-American parents, she was raised by her mother of eight children after her father died at the age of 34. She graduated from the old Lansing Central High School in 1939 (the first daughter in her family to do so), then went to work for state government. She enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was stationed in Chicago before being honorably discharged at the end of the conflict and returning to her civil service job in state government.
She was the “right-hand” gal for a number of top administrators in the executive branch, particularly Gus Harrison, head of the state Corrections system and later Michigan’s first Lottery Commissioner, appointed by Gov. William G. Milliken. She later worked for a succession of state representatives and state senators. Along the way, she co-founded Lansing’s Pioneer Civitan Club, which still flourishes today.
Along the way, Jimmie Manson was a great friend to all who knew her. Her death is a loss to everyone, including members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church across the street from the north end of the state capitol, where she was baptized and of which she was a lifelong member.
She died at age 95 on Good Friday, March 25, surrounded by family. Few will be as sorely missed.