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Obituary: Larry Mansier

by Community Contributor

Lawrence Allen Mansier, 93, of Pennington, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loving family at Capital Health Medical Center on November 21, 2023. Larry was a true modern day renaissance man. He loved life and was eager to learn and to share it all. There was no end to his curiosity. Larry devoted his life to his family and to teaching, formally and informally. Throughout his life he inspired others, young and old.

Larry was born on June 9, 1930 in St. Peter’s Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey, to Margaret Helen Taylor Mansier and Lorenzo Charles Mansier. The highlights of his childhood were learning, sharing, playing baseball, going fishing, visiting family friends, and the family’s bungalow at Seaside Park. Growing up as an only child, he became proficient at independent learning. “The real highlight was my desk area up on a platform next to the coal bin. I had a real office desk and a lamp. It was here I read and studied.” Larry graduated from Highland Park High School in 1948 as class president, where he was described in the yearbook as “a good one to follow, a hard one to beat.” He graduated from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey in 1952 with a bachelor of arts degree in English.

Ten days later he was drafted into the United States Army during the Korean War. After basic training at Fort Dix, Larry was shipped to Korea, where he contracted polio. Almost completely paralyzed, he was encased in an iron lung and eventually transported back to the United States. He would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair or on crutches. In 1954 Larry married Nancy Mary Saltzman, a candy striper who played cards with the patients. In 1962, after graduate work in English at Rutgers and studies at Seton Hall University to teach in high school, he became an English teacher at Netcong High School in northern New Jersey. Nancy passed away in 1965.

In 1966 Larry began a long career as an English teacher at Princeton High School. On the first day of school he met another new English teacher, Madeleine Mary Waters. They were married on June 24, 1967 in Philadelphia, PA. At PHS, Larry was the drama director, announcer of wrestling matches, baseball coach, producer of an in-house daily TV show, and all-around go-to teacher for sound advice on life and learning.

In 1971 Larry and Madeleine moved into their completely wheelchair accessible home in Pennington, which Madeleine had designed. Their son, Lawrence Albert Mansier, was born on July 22, 1972. Father and son were best friends. Lawrence even chose his dad as best man in his wedding.

Larry volunteered in a wide variety of community activities. He was a faithful member of Pennington Presbyterian Church, serving as an elder and on many committees. Larry joined the Hopewell Valley Lions Club and became one of its longest serving members. He joined a variety of book clubs and was his son’s baseball coach, in Little League and at Princeton High School. He was a charter member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance.

Larry retired in 1995 after 34 years of joyfully working with high school students.

In 2004, Larry’s life took on a new focus – seniors. He led a group with a three-part goal: a senior advisory board (done), a senior services coordinator (done) and a fully functioning senior center (in process). In 2007 the group, still under Larry’s leadership, established the Hopewell Valley Senior Foundation, designed to raise money to support senior goals

Larry received many honors. In 2005 the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance selected him as “Volunteer of the Year.” in 2007 he was selected by the Masons, Trenton Cyrus Lodge 5, as the first recipient of their George Washington Award for Human Development. In 2011 the Pleasant Valley vigilant Association chose him as Citizen of the Year.

In 2009 Larry created a new program in Hopewell Valley, “Explorations,” designed to fill the unmet educational needs of older adults. For the next 14 years he organized and directed the senior learning program in which volunteer seniors taught other seniors about anything of interest to them. The classes continue to be very successful and varied, including history, art, literature (drama, poetry, short stories, etc.), Supreme Court, philosophy, American Indian culture and on and on. Larry himself taught almost all of Shakespeare’s plays and then works of others.

Predeceased by his parents, Lorenzo/Lawrence and Margaret (Taylor) Mansier, Larry is survived by his best friend, soul mate and loving wife of 56 years, Madeleine Mary Waters Mansier; their son and daughter-in-law. Lawrence Albert and Angela (West) Mansier, and four wonderful grandchildren, Morgan Joanna Mansier, Olivia Taylor Mansier, Weston Lawrence Mansier, and Lucas Edward Mansier, as well as his brother-in-law John Waters (Debra Lewis), nephew Erik Waters (Amy Forrer) and children, Elsa, Olin and Alden Waters, and his favorite cousin Elaine Lorensen.

A service of Witness to the Resurrection and Thanksgiving for the Life of Lawrence Allen Mansier will be held 11a.m on Saturday, December 2. at the Pennington Presbyterian Church, followed by a luncheon. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Pennington Presbyterian Church. Arrangements are by the Wilson-Apple Funeral Home, Pennington. Condolences are welcome at www.wilsonapple.com.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Lawrence Allen Mansier, please visit the Wilson Apple Funeral Home Tribute Store.

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