By Mark Gutglueck
Richard George Manley was San Bernardino County’s Second District Supervisor from 1958 until 1962. Before that, he broke ground as Upland’s first city manager.
He was born in Ontario on May 27, 1890, the son of Robert and Olinda (Northcott) Manley. His father had been the superintendent of the San Antonio Water Company from July 1, 1896 until he retired on April 1, 1929.
Richard Manley obtained his elementary education in Ontario and had two years at Chaffey High School when, through familial advantage, he was offered employment at the age of sixteen with the San Antonio Water Company measuring water in high mountainous areas. Rather than dropping out of school, however, he attended night courses and worked toward obtaining his diploma. After he was appointed as a water tender and could work nights, he returned to Chaffey’s day courses and graduated. In 1915, Manley left the water company and entered Pomona College, where he completed pre-engineering classes before enlisting in the Coast Artillery at San Pedro during the First World War, then known as the “Great War.” Prior to the end of hostilities, he graduated from the Army Corps of Engineers’ Officers Candidate School with the rank of lieutenant.
After he was demobilized, Manley entered Stanford University to study engineering and was within six weeks of graduation when the city of Upland offered him the position of city engineer. He did not turn that opportunity down, and did not obtain a bachelor’s degree. from Stanford. Before he left Palo Alto, he married Marjorie Lowe, an Upland Elementary School teacher in December of 1920. They had two daughters, Roberta and Dorothy.
The position as city engineer of Upland gradually evolved to that of city manager, when, in 1930, that office was formally created. This was the same year that Manly at last completed the requirements for his civil engineering degree by attending night school at the University of Southern California.
During his 35-year tenure as Upland city engineer and its first city manager, Manley put his early training with the San Antonio Water Company to good use: he supervised the design and construction of nine municipal water reservoirs, some of which remain in service. He also pioneered the construction of several local flood control facilities. In logical sequence, following the Flood of 1938, he served on the Flood Control District’s Zone 1 Advisory Committee from the time it was formed in 1939 until 1955. Although never an officially appointed member, he was so active on that committee that he frequently voted on motions and acted as secretary in the absence of that individual.
In 1947, Manley completed the requirements for his master’s degree in public administration by attending night classes at the University of Southern California.
Marjorie Manley died in September 1951. In October 1952, Mr. Manley married Dorothy (Carlton) Grier, widow of former Second District Supervisor C. E. Grier.
Manley retired from city service on December 31, 1955, but continued to serve on various flood control and water conservation committees, lead the annual fund drives for the Red Cross and other charitable organizations and to hold a directorship with the San Antonio Water Company, the Upland Housing Authority and the Upland Savings and Loan Association.
His many friends lured him out of retirement to seek the Second Supervisorial District seat, which he won in a runoff contest at the general election of November 4, 1958. He served with distinction for four years, but declined to run for re-election in 1962. For the next three years before his sudden death at age 75 on August 18, 1965, Mr. and Mrs. Manley devoted much time to travel, both about the United States and abroad.
Thus ended the distinguished career and life of a dedicated conscientious public servant, who gave unselfishly of his time and effort to the betterment of his community by participating in many civic and service organization. He was a member of the Chino Basin Water Conservation District from 1949 to 1961 and its president from 1957 to 1961. Held a life-membership in the International City Manager Association. He was a member of the First Methodist Church of Upland, the Ontario Elks Lodge, the Upland Masonic Lodge and the American Society of Civil Engineers. He was a president of the Upland Rotary Club and a board member of the League of California Cities. He was the president of that league’s city managers’ section from 1936 to 1938. Mr. Manley was survived by his second wife, Dorothy, two daughters, Roberta (Mrs. Fred C.) Strohte of Upland and Dorothy (Mrs. Robert A) Hessemer of Sacramento, two sisters, Miss Ida Manley of Ontario and Mrs. Edwin Porter of San Clemente, a brother, Robert Manley of Ontario and six grandchildren.
By Mark Gutglueck