Frank Donald Manthe


Frank Donald Manthe, Payson business and community pioneer, died Feb. 4, 2006 at his home in Payson. He was born Aug. 28, 1921 in Madison, Wis.

He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1943 with a degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and served in World War II as a Naval pilot, flying PBY Catalina aircraft. He married Phyllis Mann in 1944, and moved to Payson in 1949.

Mr. Manthe built the first drug store, Payson Drug, at 214 West Main St., and lived in a cabin in back of the store. Since the nearest medical aid was in Cottonwood, he administered most of the emergency care in the Payson area for many years.

Manthe was an integral part of the planning and building of the first medical facility, Payson Clinic, and served on the first clinic board. At that time, Manthe helped recruit the first doctor to practice in the clinic. When the Beeline Highway was in progress, Manthe built another store building near the corner of Main and the Beeline in 1958. He and his wife owned and operated Payson Drug until 1971.

During the 1950s, '60s and '70s, Manthe was very active in the growing Payson community. He served as president of the Payson Chamber of Commerce; helped start, and was president of, the Payson Rotary Club. He also brought Boy Scout Troop 354 to Payson and served as Scoutmaster.

Manthe was an Eagle Scout, and a member of the Order of the Arrow. He was instrumental in modernizing the old rock schoolhouse and later served as president of the Payson School Board. He was active in the local theatrical group, and participated in many plays in the old rock schoolhouse.

Manthe also served as master of ceremonies for many of the annual town variety and talent shows. He served on the Sanitary Board and helped build the wastewater treatment plant. He later served as superintendent of the Northern Gila County Sanitary District and taught classes at Eastern Arizona College in water quality and management. In later years, he was president of the Payson Investment Club and a member of the Rim Area Gardeners, where he pursued his hobby of growing grapes and making wine. He and his wife, Phyllis, also owned a home in Guaymas, Mexico, where they were active with Rotary International and a local orphanage.

He enjoyed traveling the world, particularly to wine-growing regions.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Phyllis; two sisters, Evelyn Zingg and Lucille Dobe of Wisconsin; daughters, Carol (Jerry) Powell of Nutrioso and Linda Sparks of Apache Junction; son, Don (Kellie) Manthe of Scottsdale; three granddaughters, CariAnn P. Foley, LeeAnn P. Aylesworth and Kiko B. Ulmer; one grandson, Mason Bernal; and five great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by one granddaughter, Ruiz Bernal.

There will be a memorial service at Mount Cross Lutheran Church at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18. Memorial contributions may be made to Payson RTA Hospice, 511 S. Mud Springs, Payson, AZ 85541; Payson Humane Society, 812 S. McLane Road, Payson, AZ 85541; or Habitat for Humanity, 1013 S. Goodfellow Rd., Payson, AZ 85541.

An online guestbook is available at

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