Michael H. Mank was born Herman L. Mank, Jr., on May 7, 1938, in Ashburnham, Massachusetts. He got his M.A. degree from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Michael moved to Los Angeles in 1961 where he taught in the public schools until he relocated to San Francisco at the end of 1963. He did graduate work at Berkeley, San Francisco State and U.C.L.A. He taught math and sciences in San Mateo’s middle schools until his disability in the 1990-91 school year.
During the 1970’s, Michael began his public life. He was an active and visible member of the “No on 6” campaign which would have made it illegal for homosexuals to teach school, chairing the San Francisco committee. In 1984 Michael volunteered for the Shanti Project emotional support project, serving many clients during his seven years with the Project.
Michael was a charter member of Metropolitan Community Church-San Francisco since 1970, where he served as clerk, played the organ, and served on the Board of Directors. As treasurer for the Northwest District for five years he also served as Representative to the Commission on Laity for the denomination. He was involved as chair and member of the By-laws Committee, Faith, Fellowship & Order Commission, Government Structures & Systems, Hymnody Committee, and the Commission on the Laity.
He coordinated the study group in Eureka/Arcata, MCC-Humboldt; authored the hymn I’m Not Afraid Anymore and other service music and worked at San Francisco Suicide/Crisis Intervention Center on the trustee board.
In 1981, at MCC’s 10th General Conference, held in Houston, Texas, Michael was elected the first lay Elder of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches and assumed responsibility as Treasurer of the denomination, a post he held until his resignation from the Board of Elders in 1987. He served as liaison elder to the MCC churches in Australia and New Zealand and in this role was a regular visitor also to MCC Hawaii in Honolulu.
Michael Mank died on the evening of Easter Sunday, April 19, 1992, of AIDS-related causes.
(This bio prepared by Frank Zerilli and Roy Birchard from MCC General Conference program books and Michael’s obituary in the San Francisco newspapers).