Economics professor John P. Manzer loved teaching. Even in his free time, he spent long hours working with Junior Achievement to help young people learn. But he was also a night owl who loved music and loved to drive his metallic blue Corvette, his wife, Marilyn Manzer, said.
Late Monday evening, August 8, 2005, Manzer was killed on his way home from a north-end Walgreens when his 2004 Corvette convertible was rammed by a speeding car on Coldwater Road. He had gone to pick up a prescription after his wife went to bed, Marilyn Manzer said. John Manzer, 59, was pulling out of the Walgreens parking lot onto Coldwater Road when a silver Audi heading north toward Dupont Road collided with the Corvette, police said.
The impact sent the Corvette spinning into a nearby utility pole about 11:56 p.m. Monday, a Fort Wayne police report said. When police arrived at the scene, they found Manzer’s Corvette in the middle of the northbound lanes with heavy damage. Manzer had been thrown from his car and died at the scene from his injuries. He was not wearing a seat belt, the report said.
The Audi had heavy front-end damage and was found in a nearby yard. The driver, Daniel Epple, suffered a cut to his hand and was taken to a hospital for treatment, the report said.
Investigators believe Epple, 22, was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, the report said. Results of tests to determine his blood-alcohol level were pending Tuesday. No charges had been filed as of late Tuesday, police spokesman Mike Joyner said.
Manzer was an assistant professor of economics at IPFW since 1981 when he was hired to run the Center for Economic Education, his IPFW economics colleague George Bullion said. The center promotes the teaching of economics in kindergarten through 12th grade.
In 1995, Manzer went back to teaching full time for the university’s economics department, Bullion said. “John had a dry sense of wit,” Bullion said, "but his humor always came through in his teaching of economics."
Aside from his work at IPFW, Manzer worked closely with Junior Achievement and was planning a sabbatical this fall to work with the youth leadership group, said Lena Yarian, president of Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana.
Manzer had spent the past 20 years or so working with Junior Achievement to help develop programs and recruited his IPFW students to teach Junior Achievement classes, Yarian said.
“It’s just a true loss, a terrible loss that he is gone,” she said. Yarian had Manzer as a professor while she studied at IPFW. He connected with his students and made economics exciting, Yarian said.
Manzer enjoyed teaching at the college level and felt it was important for young people to understand the basics of economics so they could make informed decisions, his wife said. But there was more to the professor than sound economic principles. Since high school, the Chicago native owned a Fender bass guitar that he later taught his son, Peter, to play. He instilled a love of music in his son, and the two would often play together, Marilyn Manzer said. "He loved good old rock 'n' roll," she said. In the early 1960s her husband belonged to a well-known Chicago-area band call The Cryan’ Shames, but he always wanted to be a professor, his wife said. IPFW officials extended their sympathy to the family. "We're all saddened by this tragic accident," a school official said.
Memorials can be made to Junior Achievement or to the IPFW John P. Manzer Scholarship Fund.