Eugenia Trachta Manning
Eugenia Trachta Manning died early Friday morning, March 18, 2022. She died only 10 days before her 99th birthday. Eugenia was born on March 28, 1923 in Legerwood, North Dakota to Herman and Henrietta Trachta. She died in Mansfield, Louisiana where she was a resisdent since 1945.
Eugenia was preceded in death by her mother and father, daughter Carol Ann, and grandson Luke Manning.
Left with wonderful memories are her daughter Diana Manning, Karen Stewart-Taylor and husband James, grandchildren, Jason Stewart and wife Sonja, Justin Taylor and wife Ryan, Lori McBrayer, Lee J. Taylor and wife Jodie, Dan Taylor and wife JoAnn. Great grandchildren, Lawson Taylor, Will Taylor, Jodie Taylor, Rowdy Taylor, Morgan Duncan and husband Payton, Haileigh Muehlstein and husband Jake, Miranda Murphy, Spencer Thomas and wife Cassandra and great great granddaughter Aurora Thomas, one nephew Lesly Manning and wife Libbie, and many great nieces and nephews.
Eugenia lived most of her life in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. She was the only child of her Romanian mother and her Czecoslavakian father. Her mother was a gourmet cook and loved to play and sing at the piano. Her father was a partner in a mattress factory until the depression, when he became a carpenter. She walked to school in snowy winters, and played \"Hannibal crosses the Alps\" on the plowed snow. She was always the artist. Her teachers were always happy to have her draw on the blackboard. Eugenia took long bicycle trips around the city with her sketchbook. One of the highlights of St. Cloud was Lake George, a large lake in the center of town and only a couple of blocks away from Eugenia\'s house. In the winter Lake George would freeze and skaters came daily, including Eugenia, to glide over the lake turning it into the scene of an old fashioned Christmas card.
After high school, her father unexpectedly died while shoveling snow in front of their house, and she and her mother, no longer able to handle the heavy duties required by a large coal burning furnace, or the maintenance of heavy snowfalls, moved to Galveston, Texas. There she met and married Albert Manning, who eventually brought her home to Mansfield.
Mansfield became her home. She gained a new mother, her mother-n-law, Margaret Walker, when her own mother died in 1949 at the age of 55.
Her artistic talents were extraordinary and she put them to use in a myriad of ways to help support her daughters, and eventually become their complete and sole support. She was a sign painter and painted on buildings, trucks, school buses, and once crawled to the top of a Texaco truck to freshen its large white letters. She was a portrait painter and took commissions. During the 1950\'s she painted a collection of Lousiana beauty Queens, Miss Crawfish Queen, Miss Cotton Queen, Miss Rice Queen among them. These paintings caught the eye of a United States Representative to Congress from Louisiana and he had them shipped to the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery as a main attraction to Louisiana\'s Mardi Gras Ball held there. She painted a portrait of Bob Hope which was given to him on a visit to Shreveport by a Ladies Club there.
She worked for a photographer and long before color photographs and Adobe Photoshop came around, she hand colored portrait photographs, and sitting at a light box, she faded out wrinkles from photo negatives with a special pencil.
But these happy chores did not turn into neglect for her children\'s needs. No, she sent decorations for holidays to their school rooms, made posters, and each Valentine\'s Day their class room boasted the biggest and most beautiful and elaborate Valentine boxes.
Then, as the last daughter graduated from high school, the DeSoto Parish School System became to build a media center which would require the hiring of an artist. A principal, who was to head the media center, went straight to Eugenia and asked her to take on the job officialy what she had been doing generously for the last 17 years. She took on the challenge, and with the event of computers entering the workplace, she took on that too. Eugenia worked at the media center, as its single artist, for 40 years, retiring then at the age of 90. She went home, and promptly recreated her school studio there and happily continued the work she loved, but with a lighter load.
The highlight of her work, and her love, though, was a small little chapel built by Carmelite monks in 1865 from rocks they found along little Bayou Loupe, and whose interior had been beautifully painted by two Carmelite monks from France. The energectic and lively community of Monks, who suffered miserably through the Scarlet fever that passed through Louisiana, faded away, leaving the little rock chapel, which became lost in the woods, as the only sign that they had been there. In a project of renovation for the chapel, a priest from her church, St. Joseph\'s Catholic Church in Mansfield, asked her to take on the work of restoring the chapel\'s interior painting. With much research, and tracing of old pieces of the ceiling, and the badly carved walls, Eugenia singlehandedly brought the chapel back to its interior beauty. Well, almost singlehandedly. Eugenia, who did not drive or own a car, was taken by parishioner Nelda Laffitte out to the chapel each morning after her girls were in school and was picked up by the same parishioner and taken home before the girls came home from school. She was alone, deep in the woods, with her paints, and turpentine, and scaffolding, and a few cows who would stop by and check in with her now and then.
Eugenia loved her church, and her faith. A rosary was always nearby. Her daughters remember getting ready for Mass on Sunday morning, and at one point, ready or not, Eugenia would call out, \"It\'s time to call 444! Hurry!\" Four Forty Four was a taxi service. The lack of a car did not keep Eugenia and her brood from Sunday morning mass.
Eugenia was and is, loved by so many people of Mansfield, and St. Joseph\'s and St. Ann\'s parish. She was a gentle and loving person, who could lead people in projects they never dreamed they could accomplish, like the time she called on the parishioner to paint the large church windows, turning them into faux stained glass. They did it together. And they loved her and saw themselves as real artists, like her, for the first time.
The lack of winter snows, the lack of a city lake filled with skaters, the lack of the big Ski Sky Sko statue looming over the skaters, or her frozen garden that her father would flood so she could learn to skate holding onto the back of a chair, did not keep Eugenia from loving her crazy weathered new home, and it\'s people. It was all God\'s earth, and she was one of God\'s children.
Funeral services honoring the life of Eugenia Manning will be held at 2:00 P.M. on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Mansfield, Louisiana. Burial will follow at Carmel Catholic Cemetery. Visitation will be held at the church from noon until the time of the service.
Pallbearers are Bobby Cowling, James Cowling, Paul Hesser, Tony Stewart, Gilbert Stoma, and Rowdy Taylor.