John "Larry" Manross...The Road to Arizona.
Larry was born in Santa Monica, California in May of 1944. His younger brother, Tim, was born in 1950. Their childhood was spent in the newly developed suburbs of North Hollywood. The neighborhood was filled with young families and children. It was a time when everyone felt safe and all kids played in their front yards, walked to school, the park, or the corner store on their own. Everybody knew everyone else on their block. Telephones had party lines which meant that there were several families sharing the “line”. If you wanted to make a call, you had to wait your turn if you heard other individuals having a conversation on the phone. There were no computers or cell phones and television was viewed in black and white. The family was the center of one's activity.
Larry joined the Cub Scouts and was very active in many Y clubs; Indian Guides, Gray Y, and Junior Hi Y. He went to YMCA Camp every summer. Larry sold YMCA sponsored soap, door to door, and cut lawns in the neighborhood to help pay the cost to attend Y Camp in the San Bernadino Mountains. He also went on YMCA Caravan camping trips to the Grand Canyon and the High Sierras.
Larry’s family spent at least two uninterrupted weeks together each year at the beach or in the mountains. Lake Tahoe was a family favorite. When vacationing in Newport Beach, they were joined by five other families that rented beach houses nearby. It was quite a celebration.
At a young age Larry was quite industrious. He always had a paper route and at age 15 he started working in a privately owned, local grocery store. In his junior and senior years he walked on and made the high school basketball team. As a Senior his team made it to the semi- finals in the City of Los Angeles Championship tournament.
Larry’s first two years of college were spent studying Business Administration at the new Valley State College, which today is California State University in Northridge, CA. During summers while in college, Larry and his friend, Al, would work at Pacific Metals Co. in Los Angeles which was managed by his dad, John. The boys preferred manual labor in the warehouse with the teamsters over working in the office.
In 1964 Larry’s life took a major turn when he transferred to UCLA. He was assigned to Hedrick Hall, one of the first coed dorms in the country. There he met Mary Winthrop, of Long Beach, who was a freshman. Larry and Mary’s first date was a beach party at Malibu. It was a carefree time of life with endless activities and two wonderful years of dating on the beautiful UCLA campus. To top it off, UCLA had a National Championship Basketball Team and the football team played in the Rose Bowl. During the summer of 1965 Larry was challenged by his brother Tim to wrestle a 350 bear. Larry accepted the challenge and survived the cage match. Mary was not impressed.
Larry’s career in the logistics industry began with Airborne Freight and included industry leaders Airborne, Emery Air Freight, WTC, Burlington Air Express and Exel Global Logistics. He was in a sales role his entire career and rose to Vice President of National Accounts and later Vice President of Global Accounts. It was a challenging and rewarding career which included business travel throughout the world. Mary and Larry also have done a great deal of international travel. Their vacations have included visits to 19 countries.
The decision to make Scottsdale their home brought many blessings to Larry and Mary and their family. Today each of their four children live happy, healthy, productive and successful lives thanks to their personal drive, supportive family, excellent education, and the community they were raised in. John, Dan, Michael and Heather represent the still developing 11th and 12th generations of the Manross Family in America. Over time their generations will be added to this website.
The Manross family has always enjoyed traveling. Mary and Larry tried to expose them to American History and the beauty of our country through trips to many parts of our country. Family camping trips to Yosemite, Sequoia, and the Grand Canyon were amazing experiences. Historical visits to Washington DC, Boston, Bristol CT, and Gettysburg gave the family a great perspective on American history and the role that the Manross family played in that history. As the kids became teenagers, the family would vacation for two weeks at the beach in San Clemente. In 1985 the family of six traveled to Europe and visited nearly a dozen countries.
With four young children Mary decided that during the early years she would focus on raising the children over pursuing her career. At the same time she was on the Board of Directors of the Franciscan Renewal Center, served on city commissions, worked in many different roles with the schools, and ran the re-election campaign for the serving mayor. In 1992 she decided to run for Scottsdale City Council. With a strong door to door campaign she won handily and served two terms on the Council. In 2000 Mary ran for Mayor and was elected. She then served two terms as Mayor of Scottsdale and had many truly significant accomplishments. As part of Arizona’s Centennial Celebration she was named an Arizona Culture Keeper for her historic and environmental preservation success with the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. She also was honored at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. when she received the National Mayor’s Award for Energy Efficiency. Additional highlights include the joint project with Arizona State University to create SkySong, a center for research and innovation, and her success in generating a renewal of the downtown with over $3 Billion in new investments.
It was a sign of true love that Mary was willing to marry and move to the Ice Belt in North Dakota before finishing her fourth year at UCLA. She transferred to Minot State University and completed both her BA in Political Science and Secondary Education, along with earning a Teacher Certification in 1969. She was a top student in both high school and college and graduated in the top of her class. Mary was elected to membership in Pi Gamma Mu, the National Social Science Honor Society.
John Manross, their first child, was born in January, 1970. On the night of his birth the temperature was -35 degrees with a 30 knot wind. The Air Force Base hospital was located in downtown Minot, thirteen miles away. The roads were glazed with ice. That made it a very precarious drive to the hospital in those conditions in their little Volkswagen Beetle with daisy flowers on the side windows. The next three children were all born in sunny Scottsdale, Arizona. Dan was born in April 1973, Michael in September 1976, and Heather in October 1979. Larry and Mary lived on Minot AFB ND for 3 ½ years after their marriage. Larry had already spent over half a year there as a bachelor. To move from a metropolis like L.A. to a relatively small farming community had its challenges. The severity of North Dakota’s winters was astounding, but one quickly learned to dress in layers and be prepared for blizzards. The geographical distance (1800 miles) from their families back in California cemented Mary and Larry together as a closely knit unit. It also encouraged them to reach out and make many dear and lasting friendships in Minot.
Today Mary and Larry still live in Scottsdale and remain very active in the community. Mary serves on the board of several important foundations and Larry is the Sales VP for Torco Race Fuels. Both Mary and Larry enjoy golf, hiking, travel, the arts, major league baseball and especially visiting with family. Larry is still an active runner and has run several marathons, including the New York Marathon. Hiking has always been an important part of their lives. The two of them, along with Larry’s brother, Tim, climbed the 14,505’ Mt. Whitney in California.
The Franciscan Renewal Center has played a major role in the spiritual life of the Manross family since moving to Arizona in 1972. For over 20 years Mary and Larry were directors and instructors of the marriage preparation course. 16,000 individuals attended their course. More recently they both served on the Capital Campaign Committee to help raise over $20 million to build the new church and to refurbish the campus.
Larry's brother, Tim, met Becky Yule while they were both attending California State University at Northridge. They were married on August 4, 1973 and lived in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California. In 1979 they were transferred by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to the Owens Valley. Both Tim and Becky had long and successful careers with LADWP. They lived in Bishop and later Big Pine until they retired in 2007 and moved to their home in Chalfant, CA., which is just north of Bishop. They enjoy the outdoors and the nearby beautiful Sierra Mountains and have always loved traveling to tropical islands.
During his college years the Vietnam War was heating up. Upon graduation Larry had to make a very serious decision. He could allow himself to be drafted into the infantry for two years with the likelihood of being sent to Vietnam or enlist to be an Officer in the Air Force for four years with no guarantees regarding your assignment. He chose to enlist in the USAF as an officer. Less than a week before Larry was shipped out to Officer Training School at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX, Larry and Mary became engaged even though he had not yet purchased a ring.
In November 1966 Mary flew with Larry's family to San Antonio, TX to attend his Air Force graduation ceremony. Having been apart for several months, Mary and Larry decided to move up their wedding to June 23, 1967. Upon graduation from Officer’s Training School he was assigned to a four year tour of duty as a Nuclear Missile Launch Officer at Minot AFB, North Dakota. As an Officer he was in charge of ten nuclear missiles aimed at the Soviet Union. Each missile was ten times more powerful than the bomb at Hiroshima, Japan.
In September, 1970 the Manross family returned to Santa Monica, CA to attend graduate school at UCLA. It was during that same month, on September 26th, that Larry’s Dad, John, passed away in North Hollywood, CA. Their mother, Ruth Manross passed away 5 years later in 1975.
Over the next twelve months Larry completed an MBA at UCLA and was elected to the National Business Administration Honor Society. To help meet living expenses, Mary worked part-time as a dental assistant since the family was living on the GI Bill and their savings. The two of them had to coordinate schedules so that one of them would always be available to be with John who was eight months old. Larry accepted a sales position with Airborne Freight upon graduation with his MBA. They resided in Huntington Beach until they were transferred to Phoenix, Arizona in August 1972. Mary and Larry purchased their very first home the first week they were in Arizona. Thus began their love for Scottsdale, Arizona and their determination that this was where they wanted to raise their family. It was a great choice. Dan was born eight months later in April 1973. Michael arrived three years later in 1976 and Heather was born in 1979.