Anthony Vito Manzo, Tony, age 73, died on Saturday, August 17, released at long last from the relentlessness of pancreatic cancer. Tony was born in 1940, son of Vito and Gerolema Manzo of Brooklyn, and grandson of Antonio and Francis Manzo, and Giuseppe and Vita Distefano, all of Castelvetrano, Sicily, and each of whom he held close in his heart for all of his life.
Dr. Manzo was Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. There he founded and directed the Center for Studies in Higher-Order Literacy and the Education Unit of a unique Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program. He was a groundbreaking scholar, distinguishing himself early with a 1969 dissertation that was published in article form in the same year and is still widely cited in journals and textbooks in the field. His remarkable subsequent productivity was honored by a 1993 selection to join an elite group of academicians as recipient of the International Reading Association’s William S. Gray Citation of Merit for lifetime research and publications that have “vastly improved the instructional dynamics of countless classrooms and inspired the work of other scholars and researchers.” The doctoral students he mentored over a thirty-year career have made significant contributions to the field and have, in turn, mentored others. Tony was well aware that his reach always exceeded his grasp, and he left with many projects on the drawing board.
In family gatherings, at the handball club or other social occasions, Tony could always be counted on for amusing anecdotes or mind altering opinions about history, politics, psychology, society, or life in general. Tony is survived by his wife Ula; daughter Maria Wiesner and Ken Wiester; daughter Lisa Manzo and Trevor Olson; son Anthony Manzo and Nina Manzo; son Byron; and grandchildren Kristin, Claire, Sophia, Max, Ivan, Alexander, Gianna, Francesca, Nicolo, and Tommy John. He treasured them each, individually, and followed and guided their life paths with high expectations for their success and happiness.
A private family burial will be held at Ascension Cemetery in Lake Forest and a memorial service will be held at 4:00 on Saturday, August 24 at O’Connor Mortuary, 25301 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills, California.