John Manke

John Arnold Manke Sr.

Friday, November 13th, 1931 - Thursday, January 31st, 2019
Recommend this to your friends.
Share via:

Sign in to the Family Interactive Login

The Family Interactive feature enhances An Amazing Life. Authorized family members can securely access their loved one's memorial website settings at any time.

Share Book of Memories with a Friend

Please enter the name and email details so that we can send your friend a link to the online tribute. No names or addresses will be collected by using this service.

Email Sent

Your email has been sent.

To share your memory on the wall of John Manke, sign in using one of the following options:

Sign in with Facebook


Sign in with your email address

Your condolence has been posted successfully

Provide comfort for the family by sending flowers or planting a tree in memory of John Manke

No Thanks

Contact Funeral Home

Please enter your question or comment below:

Email Sent

Your email has been sent.

John's Tribute Fund

  •  Full Name
  •  Initials
  •  Anonymous
By continuing, you agree with the terms and privacy policy.

John's Tribute Fund

There may be a delay while processing. Please do not click the back button or refresh while a payment is processing.
Send Flowers
Guaranteed hand delivery by a local florist


NASA Test Pilot John A. Manke, Sr

John, age 87, passed away January 31, 2019. He was born November 13, 1931 in Selby, South Dakota.
John attended the University of South Dakota, joined the U.S. Navy in 1951, was selected for the NROTC program, and graduated from Marquette University in 1956 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering and a commission in the United States Marine Corps.
John entered flight training and served as a fighter pilot with the Marines. He left the service in 1960 and was a Major in the USMC Retired Reserve. John joined NASA on May 25, 1962 as a flight research engineer. He was later assigned to the Pilots’ Office and flew various support aircraft, including the F-104, F-5D, F-111, and C-46.
John served as Director of Flight Operations, and Site Manager of NASA's Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB, CA, during a 22-year career with NASA.
John flew over 4,500 hours in 56 different aircraft. His career was highlighted by NASA research flights to test lifting body aircraft, preparing the way for the Space Shuttle and follow-on programs.
He piloted the first unpowered lifting body approach to a precision landing on a concrete runway in 1975, providing data needed by the Space Shuttle program to prepare for unpowered landings from orbital flight. As a principal NASA lifting body pilot, his first flights included the first sustained rocket-powered flight of a lifting body vehicle, the first supersonic flight of this type of vehicle, and the first flight of the delta shaped X-24B. He flew all four rocket-powered lifting bodies: The HL-10, X-24A, X-24B, and the M2-F3.
As Director of Flight Operations at NASA Dryden, John had operational responsibility for the flight test program of the mated Shuttle/Boeing 747. He flew exploratory flight tests in the F-8 Digital Fly-By-Wire aircraft to develop control system design changes for the Shuttle Orbiter. He participated in the high-technology programs including the X-15, Lifting Bodies, Space Shuttle, AFTI/F-16, AFTI/F-111, B-2 Stealth Bomber, and X-29. He earned his Mach 3+ pin flying the YF-12 Blackbird.
John has been honored with the NASA Medal for Outstanding Leadership, the NASA Medal for Exceptional Service, was nominated by NASA in 1984 for the Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive, and was named to the Aerospace Walk of Honor in 1997.
John also served as a Eucharistic Minister at Sacred Heart Parish, loved flying model airplanes, and spending time with his family.
He leaves his wife of 65 years, Marilyn, sons: John (Tina), and Tom (Beth), daughters: Terri (Frank), Donna (Richard), and Carol (Chris - RIP), 13 grandchildren and 21 great- grandchildren.
Services will be held at 10:00 am Friday, February 8, 2019, at St. Junipero Serra Parish in Lancaster. Graveside service will follow at Good Shepherd Cemetery.
Read Less

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John Arnold Manke Sr., please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.

Sign Up for Notifications

Receive notifications about information and event scheduling for John

Service Details

  • Service

    Friday, February 8th, 2019 | 10:00am
    Friday, February 8th, 2019 10:00am
    Saint Junipero Serra Parish
    42121 60th Street West
    LANCASTER, CA 93536
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Father Leo Dechant
  • Interment

    Good Shepherd Catholic Cemetery
    43121 70th Street West
    LANCASTER, CA 93536
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


We encourage you to share your most beloved memories of John here, so that the family and other loved ones can always see it. You can upload cherished photographs, or share your favorite stories, and can even comment on those shared by others.

No video recorded.

Private Condolence
Provide comfort for the family of John Arnold Manke Sr by sending flowers.
Guaranteed hand delivery by a local florist

Photos & Videos

Photo Album

Upload up to 10 images at a time, max 8MB each
Share by: