Wayne C. Mann, former Western Michigan University archivist and a co-founder of the Kalamazoo Valley Genealogical Society, died March 19 in Portage, Mich. He was 81.
Mann joined the WMU staff in 1965 as assistant archivist. He retired with the title of director emeritus of university archives and regional history collections at the end of 1995 after 32 years of service to the University.
Wayne C. Mann
A Berrien County, Mich., native, Mann earned bachelor's and master's degrees in history from WMU in 1954 and 1964, respectively. He went on to teach in the public schools for eight years, six of them in Kalamazoo.
Mann became professionally affiliated with WMU when he began serving in 1963 as an appointed, grant-based field representative for Archives and Regional History Collections. The University appointed him head of both of those units just five years later.
Over the years, he was a resource for many publications, including as a consultant for the book "When Gallantry Was Commonplace" by Leland Thornton. He was thanked many times by authors for his contributions to their works.
During the early part of his career, Mann was active in numerous professional organizations. He served three terms as president of the Kalamazoo Valley Genealogical Society and also served stints as president of the Michigan Archival Association and secretary of the Mid-Michigan chapter of the American Records Management Association.
In addition, Mann was active in the American Association for State and Local History, Society of American Archivists, National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association, Kalamazoo County Historical Society, Kalamazoo Optimist Club, and Michigan, Indiana and Ohio Historical societies.
The family will receive friends from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 25, in the Langeland Family Funeral Homes' Portage Chapel, 411 E. Centre Ave., Portage. A celebration of Mann's life will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, in the First United Methodist Church, 132 S. Oak St., in Buchanan, Mich.
Memorial gifts may be made payable to the "WMU Legacy Collections-Athenaeum" project of the Zhang Legacy Collections Center, home of Archives and Regional History Collections. Visit wmich.edu/library/legacy for more information about the project and a link to making an online gift.
For more information on the service, directions or to make a memorial guestbook entry, visit langelands.com.