Prince William County civic and business leader J. Manley Garber, known as the man who brought electricity to the county, died Sunday, Sept. 13, at age 95.
Garber was a leader in the effort to bring electricity to much of Prince William in the 1940s. He was elected to the board of the Prince William Electric Cooperative in 1950 (later part of Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative) and served on electric co-op boards for 67 years, more than any co-op board member in the United States.
“Manley Garber is unique,” said Stan C. Feuerberg, president and CEO of NOVEC, in 2018. “He possesses a heart of gold for those less fortunate, yet maintains his objectivity on matters involving what is best for NOVEC and its members. He has proven to be the voice of reason in the boardroom time and time again.”
Garber also served on the boards of directors for Prince William Hospital, First Manassas Bank, Commonwealth Savings and Loan, and Church of the Brethren in Woodbridge, where he was a founding member. In 2018, he received the Charles J. Colgan Visionary Award from the Prince William Chamber of Commerce.
In a statement, Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chair Ann Wheeler noted that Garber moved to the county in 1932, when he was 8 years old.
"He and Prince William County grew up together," Wheeler wrote. "Manley wore many hats over the years; son, brother, father, husband, hog farmer, trash hauler, property owner, businessman, philanthropist, NOVEC Board member/chair, friend and mentor. He was a man of integrity in all he did. He was kind. He was generous. He was, in so many ways, the best of us."
Garber was born January 26, 1925, in Sangerville to the late Daniel (D.W.) and Blanche R. Garber. He was married to Kay Kim Garber for 22 years, who survives. Manley was preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, Jeannette Minnick Garber; brother, Galen Garber, and his twin brother, Stanley Garber; and sister, Geraldine Garber.
Survivors in addition to his wife include his children, Neil (Karen) Garber of Weyers Cave, Gerri Garber Rigney of Bridgewater, Danny (Diana) Garber of Woodbridge, John (Kelly) Garber of Waynesboro; 11 grandchildren; 25 greatgrandchildren; 2 great-great-grandchildren; his stepsons, Young Kim of South Korea, Richard (Jennifer) Kim of Raleigh, NC, and Jay (Jong) Kim of St. Louis, MO, and five step grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to: March of Dimes, March for Babies In Memory of Manley Garber, 3495 Piedmont Rd. NE, Building 12, Suite 210 Atlanta, GA 30305.
The family will receive friends on Thursday, Sept. 17, from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Mountcastle Turch Funeral Home, 4143 Dale Blvd. Interment will be Friday, Sept. 18, at 1 p.m. at Sangerville Church of the Brethren in Bridgewater. The family said that in light of the pandemic, a celebration of life will be scheduled in Northern Virginia in 2021.