Wallace Robert (Wally) Mann


July 11, 1916 - Oct. 19, 2012



Wallace Robert (Wally) Mann passed away suddenly at age 96 on Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, surrounded by loving family members. On July 11, 1916, Wally was born in Springville N.Y., the second child of seven in the family of Robert James and Gladys Hudson Mann.


He grew up on his family’s farm in rural Waukesha County, graduated from Waukesha High and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As a young man, his first big adventure took him to South America, where he traveled with his brother, Rod, to export dairy cattle, drinking up every experience along the way and launching a number of well-repeated family tales. When his father passed on, Wally became his mother’s rock and successfully managed the family farm, an enduring source of pride for him. He and Isabelle Hoeft became devoted partners when they were married Nov. 18, 1944.


With Isabelle and their four kids, he lived in Waukesha; Lubbock and Dallas, Texas; Alexandria, La.; and Bloomington, Minn.; but home was Des Moines, Iowa, where he first moved in 1955, again in 1964, and for the last time in 2003. He loved being a family man. His growing family belonged to Redeemer Lutheran Church, where many Sundays after services would find him and his kids walking the three miles home, carrying the littlest one on his shoulders, while Isabelle went ahead to make Sunday chicken dinner. Wally was a salesman much of his life, coming in from the road to own a restaurant near Drake University in the 1970s. With Isabelle, Wally traveled to the four corners of the country, where he practiced his golf swing as often as possible on as many of the nation’s golf courses as possible. Upon the loss of Isabelle, and after a life dedicated to supporting his family, he retired in 1990, and moved to Houston, Texas, where he indulged daily in his passion for golf with his great friends, Helen Hogan (niece) and George Young. His lifelong record includes eight holes-in-one.


Wally was preceded in his passing by his wife, Isabelle; his parents, Robert and Gladys; and his siblings, Dell, Roderick, Russell, Elizabeth and James.


He is loved and survived by a sister, Beverly Chappie of Brookfield; his children, Paul Mann of Houston, Ellen Keine and Lucy (Craig) Davisson of West Des Moines, and Bob (Ann Marie) Mann of Malibu; grandchildren, Matthew (Jennifer) Davisson, Priscilla (Robert) Melchor, Henry and Kendall Mann; and great-grandchildren, Alyssa and Bud Melchor, and Isabelle and Avery Davisson.


Good-natured, Wally was widely read and a master of innovative solutions; he will be remembered for his enduring intellectual capacity, his resourcefulness, his modesty and simplicity, his strength, bravery and his heroic all-in love for life. He loved God and attended Lutheran Church of Hope faithfully. Christmas services 2011 were especially proud and meaningful for him when he led four generations in celebration of the birth of his Savior. He delighted in all small children, particularly treasuring his own children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.


He was an avid follower of many sports with a special affinity for PGA and LPGA golf, the Wisconsin Badgers and the Kansas City Chiefs. Ever the farmer, wise as a tree full of owls, he continued “planting seeds” of wisdom until the end. He will be especially missed for his “pows.”


Visitation will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at Westover Chapel, 6337 Hickman Road, Des Moines, IA 50322, followed by an 11 a.m. celebration service, light lunch and burial at Masonic Cemetery.  

To honor his life, memorial contributions may be made in Wally’s name to Disabled American Veterans, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH 45250-0301, Attn: Gift Processing, or

Iles Funeral Homes, Westover Chapel, is serving the family. For more information, call 515-244-2121 or visit online at