WAYNE — Lester J. Mann, 65, of Wayne, died peacefully at home surrounded by his family Dec. 26, 2019, after an extended battle with cancer.
A funeral Mass will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Wayne, Jan. 18, at 10:30 a.m., with an interment service in Pendleton, Ore., at a later date.
Lester J. Mann was born April 30, 1954, in Pendleton, Ore., the fourth child of William and Katherine (Hathaway) Mann. Les married Debra Kennedy June 21, 1975, and earned a B.S.in JournalismfromUniversity of Oregon in 1976.
After honing his professional craft in Festus, Mo., as managing editor of the Daily News Democrat, Les and Deb moved to Nebraska in 1980 to take a position as editor and then publisher of the Chadron Record. While in Missouri, he was an adjunct journalism instructor and student newspaper adviser at the Jefferson Junior College, Hillsboro.
In 1992, Mann and his wife moved their family of four children to Wayne, to take a position as publisher and part-owner of the Wayne Herald. Mann also taught journalism courses at Wayne State College. He eventually took a position as vice-president and general manager of the Norfolk Daily News, where he worked until 2015. He retired from journalism in 2017 after serving as publisher of the Custer County Chief in Broken Bow.
He served as president of the Nebraska Press Advertising Service in 1990 and was inducted into the Nebraska Journalism Hall of Fame Oct. 25, 2019.
Les and Deb had four children, Erin, St. Charles, Mo.; Ethan (Tracy Finney, Centennial, Colo.; Elysia (Jon Noble), Knoxville, Tenn.; and Emlyn (Cody Long), Papillion.
Les completed RCIA in 1981, and was a devout Catholic for the rest of his life. He had a playful and infectious sense of humor and an unfailing moral compass. He particularly embraced restorative environmental justice, spending much of his leisure time planting trees and tending the land on the family acreage. When not working outdoors, Les enjoyed traveling with his family, listening to St. Louis Cardinals games on the radio, and sampling varieties of scotch.
Survivors include his wife and children; his sister, Kathie (Terry) Fox, seven grandchildren, and nine nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers, Roger and Hartley and his parents-in-law Donald and Janice Kennedy.
Donations may be made to Trees, Water and People or the St. Augustine Indian Mission in Winnebago. Les’ family also encourages his friends to remember him by planting an oak tree this spring.