Parents Say Son was Texting on Cell Phone at Time of Accident
Funeral services were held Saturday, Feb. 28, in Dallas, for Marcus Patrick Manny, 23, a senior and a kicker on the Tabor College football team, who was killed Feb. 22 in a one-car crash on Interstate 35 near Tonkawa, Okla.
An entourage of about 100 Tabor College football coaches, players, students and administration officials traveled to the service via chartered bus. Manny's jersey (No. 1) was framed and presented to the family and it was prominently displayed on the platform during the funeral. The chapel, which seats about 200, was filled to capacity for the service, with as many as 50 additional mourners standing in the back of the sanctuary.
A campus memorial service was held Thursday night, Feb. 26, in the Chapel-Auditorium. The theme of the event was "A Celebration of Marcus' Life," and was planned and orchestrated by Manny's friends.
The ceremony began with students, faculty, and staff filing into the Tabor College chapel to the sound of some of Manny's favorite music and the sight of his picture projected onto the large screen.
Following a brief summary of Manny's life by Campus Pastor Kevin Johnson, students read Scripture and sang a song called "Times." A video commemorating Manny's life was shown, compiled in part by his roommate, Mario Nava (Peabody, Kan.)
Although the evening's mood was somber, laughter could be heard amidst the crying as students exchanged stories about the ways in which Manny had influenced them during his time at Tabor. Attendees of the service were invited to come to the front to share these stories. Some of them caused tears and some inspired laughter.
At the beginning of the service, attendees had received small cards with the outline of a white T-shirt printed on them, the article of clothing most characteristic of Manny.
Perhaps one of the most touching parts of the night occurred when, during a time of silence and meditation, students walked to the front to drop off these white sheets of paper on which they had written their memories of Manny.
The papers were given to Marcus's family as a keepsake, to remind them of his legacy at Tabor. The number of people who walked to the front was a testament to the impact that Manny had on his peers.
The service concluded with the reading of more Bible passages, the singing of "Mighty to Save," a word from President Jules Glanzer reassuring the community of Manny's commitment to Jesus Christ, and the benediction from Johnson. Many people also went to Java Jays, the campus coffee shop, after the ceremony to share more memories of Manny, to sign white T-shirts for the Manny family, and to decorate pages to be included in a scrapbook for the family.
According to published reports, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said Manny was northbound about 6:15 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22, when he ran off the road, over-corrected, hit an embankment and flipped his 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse.
Fellow students, faculty and staff gathered in the Chapel Auditorium the following Monday morning to grieve and pray for the Manny family.
"The college campus is a close-knit community where deep relationships are forged," Glanzer said. "When someone like Marcus is taken away from us, there is a noticeable hole in our life together. And yet I have been so impressed with how the students have grieved together. They have embraced the hurt, drawn strength from each other, and not shied away from asking the hard questions that have no easy answers."
"Marcus was a likable student who had a wide range of friendships on campus," Glanzer added. "His fun-loving and inspirational personality impacted so many of our students."
Manny was responsible for one of the Bluejays' two football victories this past season, kicking a game-winning 28-yard field goal against Southwestern College in Winfield, Kan., with :07 left on the clock, securing a 32-29 victory.
Tabor Head Football Coach Mike Gottsch called Manny, "A competitor in every sense of the word."
"Marcus was a tremendous senior leader for our young team," Gottsch added. "He was well respected by everyone his persistence and positive nature. I will always remember him as a genuine caring, passionate, and kind individual. One who was a fierce competitor, but who competed with a smile on his face."
In his career, Manny played in 27 games for the Bluejays, made 62 of 82 extra-point attempts, and 16 of 34 field goal attempts, with a career-long field goal of 41 yards. He earned Honorable Mention All-KCAC honors this past season.
Manny was born October 7, 1985. His parents are Roland and Patricia Miranda. According to published reports, Manny was pinned beneath the wreckage and died at the scene. While the report indicates he was wearing his seat belt, the Manny family has confirmed that he was text messaging on his cell phone and might have been distracted at the time of the accident.
"The Mannys have asked me to address the student body, pleading with them to stop texting while driving," Glanzer said. "They see this as a way for some meaning to come from Marcus's death"
In lieu of flowers, the Manny family is requesting donations in Marcus's name be sent to Dallas Academy, 950 Tiffany Way, Dallas, Texas, 75218 or Tabor College, 400 S. Jefferson, Hillsboro, Kan. 76063.