William Manz

Obituary of William James Manz

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William James Manz better known as Bill, 94, passed away on December 23, 2022 at the Watauga Medical Center in Boone, NC. A Celebration of Life service for Bill will be held Thursday morning, January 19, 2023 at 10:30 at the Austin & Barnes Funeral Home Chapel in Boone. Bill lived a long, colorful and eventful life. Born on Feb, 11, 1928 in Plainfield, NJ, of first generation German parents – James and Augusta Manz - he was a Depression era kid able to spend his summers at the New Jersey shore learning to sail. Upon graduating from Plainfield High School in 1945, he promptly enlisted in the U.S. Navy. His service took him to the West Coast – the first of many places he lived. Discharged following the end of World War II, Bill returned to NJ to resume his great passion: sailing. In the process, he was introduced to his sailing buddy's cute niece – Ann Pierce – whom he married three years later. They went on to have three children – William, James, and Susan. 1952 saw the couple move to then small Ft. Lauderdale, FL where Manz was a pioneer in the new burgeoning laundromat business. However, he and Ann were divorced in 1960, Bill remarried Barbara Jean Hofacker and they moved to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He was inveterate drinker of Schlitz beer but it was unavailable in the Islands. So he called Schlitz, asked for their franchise there and they gave it to him. He went on to build a highly successful beer and beverage service throughout the three U.S. Islands: St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas. Bill and his wife were passionate blue water sailors on their 38 foot sloop rigged sailboat the "Wigwam" sailing throughout the Caribbean especially the nearby British Virgin Islands. Virgin Gorda and its beautiful Sound, as well as the spectacular rock formation "The Baths", were a favorite. Active in the St. Croix Yacht Club, Manz served as its Commodore for many years. Turmoil in the Islands prompted him and Barbara to relocate to Valle Crucis, NC in 1982. There they opened The Candy Barrel in Valle Crucis which is now part of the Mast Store complex owned and operated by their good friends Faye and John Cooper. Barbara passed in 2021 ending a very happy 60 year marriage. World travel was another of Bill's passions and he and Barbara visited many corners of the globe including South Pacific Islands, Egypt's Pyramids, and many trips to Europe especially Germany. He was alert, healthy, living independently and driving up until the very end. Manz is survived by his sister Minnetta Liddicott (Parrish, FL), children William Horn (Marathon, FL), James Horn (Gleneden Beach, OR), Susan Haynie (Boca Raton, FL), grandchildren Michael, Alexander and Victoria Horn, grandchildren Whitney and Payton Ince, and great grandchildren Emma and Natalie Horn. Celebration of Life services for Bill Manz will be Thursday morning, January 19, 2023 at 10:30 at the Austin & Barnes Funeral Home Chapel. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to Appalachian Senior Programs, P.O. Box 605, Jefferson, NC 28640. NC 28640 in memory of Bill. Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Manz family.
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