Robert A. Manchester III died peacefully on Nov. 16, 2012 in Oklahoma City, Okla., while surrounded by loving friends and family. He succumbed to a lengthy battle with numerous health issues despite the gracious and earnest work of his wonderful nurses and doctors.
Robert, raised in Canfield, by his parents, Robert A. Manchester II and Mary B. Manchester along with his brother James R. Manchester (the greatest present he ever received).
Robert is survived by his wife, the love of his life, Susan Manchester, with whom he shared many loving years. Robert is also survived by his son, Robert Manchester IV, his wife Crystal and their two sons, Robert A. Manchester V and Holden W. Manchester. Robert is also survived by his stepdaughter, Andrea Bernardy (Panda) and the mother of his son, Joanne Manchester.
While he is survived by loving friends and family, his strongest legacy is his constant willingness to tend to anyone's need, grief or joy without regard for his own requirements. Those who knew him were never surprised to hear that he routinely placed the welfare of others above his own. He found great reward in utilizing his immense legal talents for the benefits of others. He championed the rights of those both unable and unwilling to compensate him. He led numerous pro bono actions on behalf of veterans and other he felt deserved a fair break. As a dedicated Marine when he discovered that the American flags flown at the Iwo Jima memorial in Washington were in tatters, he refused to sit idly by. He founded the Marine Corps War Memorial Foundation dedicated to honor the brave acts of those model Marines who gave so much for Corps and country and ensure new flags will always fly on that memorial.
From 1984 to the present, he served as chief municipal judge for the city of the Village OK. He was often commended concerning his innovative and constructive sentencing. He was awarded numerous legal honors throughout his distinguished career, most notably the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyers' Association's Lord Thomas Erskine Award. His professional memberships and affiliations include: Oklahoma County Bar Association (first chairman, Bankruptcy and Reorganization section); Oklahoma County Bar Association (Board of Directors, 1979-1981); Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyers' Association (president, 1993-1994); and inaugural member, indigent defense and arbitration panels, U.S. District Court, Western District OK.
He was admitted to practice before all state and federal courts in Oklahoma, the U.S. Circuit Court for the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, the United States Supreme Court and admitted pro hoc vice in the states of Texas, California, Florida, Arizona, Ohio and United States Bankruptcy Court in Puerto Rico. He was a member of the Governor's Commission on the Status of Women.
For more than 20 years, Robert was an active hot air balloonist known throughout the Southwest as the Ballooning Barrister. He was a frequent traveler with an uncanny ability to befriend people throughout the world. His persistent efforts toward tasks forgotten to time made him memorable well beyond his physical years.
The funeral service was held Wednesday, Nov. 21 in the Hahn-Cook Street & Draper Chapel in Oklahoma. In lieu of flowers, please do him the honor of buying an old friend a drink.