Monday, December 30, 2019
11:00 AM EST
Lawton Evangelical Church
425 S Nursery Street
Lawton, MI 49065
A lunch will be served immediately following the service in the church's fellowship hall. Burial will follow at Schoolcraft Cemetery.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
Lawton Evangelical Church
425 South Nursery Street
Lawton, MI 49065
Memorial contributions to be used for missions.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
A fully devoted, authentic follower of Christ, Philip Maneikis lived a life rich in faith and family. Inspired by his love of the Lord, Phil embodied the principles of his faith; he lived for Christ, was obedient to the Word of God, and yielded daily to the Holy Spirit. In so doing, Phil proved an inspiration and role model for others. A devoted husband, father, grandfather, teacher, and friend; Phil embraced each day as a blessing and every person as a friend. Cherished by many, Phil will long be remembered by those he loved.
1944 marked a time when all American lives were directly impacted by the war effort in Europe. While countless young people actively served in the trenches of WWII, those who remained stateside poured their energies into supporting the war effort in any way they could. As Americans welcomed the end of meat rationing and began planting Victory Gardens, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the G.I. Bill and soon became the only U.S. president to be elected to a fourth term. As the nation looked toward peace, Victor and Margaret (Hammond) Maneikis celebrated their own hopes for the future as they welcomed their son Philip into their hearts and home on November 14th in Battle Creek, Michigan.
Growing up in the Flint area during the 40s and 50s, Phil enjoyed the companionship of his two older brothers Dennis and Stanley. While he attended Swartz Creek High School, his education was not a priority during his teens, and he did not apply himself in his studies.
After graduating from high school, like many in his community, Phil found work as a tool and die maker with General Motors in Flint. After working for the automaker for a time, he realized he wanted something more for himself and enrolled in Flint Junior College. Having learned the high cost of not applying himself in high school, Phil acquired a new focus and discipline as a student. After completing his schooling at the junior college, Phil went on to earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Western Michigan University. In 1965, Phil enlisted in the United States Marine Corp. For six years, he proudly served his country. Though he was disappointed that his unit did not get called to go to Vietnam, his experience in the Marines inspired his resolve to instill a respect for the country in his family.
At the age of 20, Phil found himself ready to settle down with a good Christian woman. A true gentleman, Phil asked the mother of one of his former school mates and church fellowship members for permission to date her daughter, Cynthia Hull. With her mother’s blessing, Phil and Cyndi went out on their first date. Phil was instantly smitten, and with Cyndi’s mother’s encouragement, the pair soon became a steady couple. On July 30, 1966, the happy couple was married in St. Batholomew’s Episcopal Church, officially beginning their 38-year adventure.
In 1968, Phil and Cyndi moved to Kalamazoo, so Phil could finish his education at Western. Phil instantly fell in love with the city and the greater West Michigan area. Several years after Phil finished his schooling, he and Cyndi settled on a farm in Schoolcraft where they made their home for many years to come. Phil and Cyndi were blessed to welcome four daughters into their family. Tiffany, Michelle, Jennifer, and Melissa were the center of their lives. Phil was a proud and supportive father who encouraged each of his daughter’s endeavors while stressing the values of hard work and doing things right. He used his own shortcomings as a high school student to encourage his children and their educations. With his own example as inspiration, the girls developed both drive and discipline.
Together, Phil and Cyndi created a loving and supportive home. While Phil taught engineering manufacturing at Kalamazoo Valley Community College and farmed their land, Cyndi ran the household. They were a fine couple who blessed their children with a beautiful example of a healthy partnership centered upon the firm foundation of faith.
Phil had a heart to see others succeed, and it gave him great joy to see his students' success in the classroom and in life. Phil often called the work of farming a “hobby,” but it was a passion and a full-time second job beyond teaching. Phil found the farm a perfect setting to raise his kids, and they all appreciated the lessons they learned from farm life.
In 1985, Phil accepted the Lord as his personal savior, and both he and Cyndi were baptized together in Bankson Lake in Lawton. Each day, Phil centered his heart in his love of the Lord through prayer and daily Scripture study. As a faithful member of Lawton Evangelical (Mennonite) Church, Phil was passionate about glorifying God by loving Him and by making Him known to a lost world. Phil eagerly volunteered his time and talents. He loved helping those in need in devastated areas. For over 20 years, he rebuilt and repaired homes for two to three months out of the year through the Mennonite Disaster Service. In addition to his mission work, Phil also served as a trustee and a loyal board member.
A man of many talents, Phil was very gifted with his hands and very mechanically inclined. A skilled woodworker, he loved to make furniture. With great care, he made several pieces that will be treasured for years to come by family members. He restored multiple old cars and trucks.
Sadly Cyndi died in 2003 of breast cancer. Twice blessed in matters of love, Phil married Kathleen Schelb on October 16, 2004. Phil and Kathleen had known each other through work, and together they had 15 years of a wonderful marriage that included traveling, mission work, and being active in the church. In his leisure time, Phil loved to read, cheer on the Detroit Lions, and honor his sweet tooth with delicious baked goods, especially peanut butter fluff. He possessed an interesting sense of humor that kept others on their toes as it was a challenge to discern whether he was being serious or not. He loved to laugh, and he loved to get others laughing too.
Without a doubt, Phil’s greatest joy came from being surrounded by his family and spreading the Good News to others. Holidays were especially treasured as they were times when the entire family gathered together. Phil adored his grandchildren and especially enjoyed sharing his love for the farm with them. The grandchildren will long treasure the many fun rides in the tractor or combine with their grandfather.
Phil met life’s challenges with signature faith and grace. Even in the face of his most recent illness, he was still spreading the Good News to all he met. Clearly, the shock of Phil’s sudden departure has left those who were blessed to know him feeling stunned and saddened. Life certainly feels less certain in the absence of his steadfast presence. May it afford comfort to know that Phil has been embraced by his Lord and Savior and reunited with his loved ones. May it also provide comfort to know that each of us carries the best of his legacy in our hearts. Each moment we center ourselves in God’s love, answer the call to service and share the Good News with others, we celebrate the many ways Phil gifted us. In this way, he will continue to inspire others as he so inspired us.
Philip Maneikis went to be with his Lord and Savior on December 25, 2019. Phil is preceded in death by his first wife, Cynthia M. Hull. Lovingly carrying his faithful legacy forward is his wife, Kathleen and their combined family that includes 5 daughters: Tiffany Priest, Michelle (Jeff) Stahl, Jennifer (Scott) VanZanten, Melissa Chandler, and Jennifer Schelb. They also had 12 grandchildren and 2 great-grandsons. Phil was predeceased by his brother Dennis. In addition to the above family members, he is also survived by his brother Stanley. Even in Phil’s illness, he was still spreading the Good News to all he met. Visitation will be held at Betzler & Thompson Life Story Funeral Home, M-40 Hwy., Paw Paw 49079 on Sunday, December 29 from 2-5 PM. Funeral service will be held at Lawton Evangelical Church in Lawton on Monday, December 30 at 11 AM with a luncheon to follow. Cemetery service will follow the luncheon in Schoolcraft. Visit Phil’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you may archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions made me made to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or Lawton Evangelical Church to be used for missions. Arrangements by Betzler & Thompson Life Story Funeral Home, 60900 M-40 Hwy., Paw Paw, (269) 657-3870.