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Daniel Mannus (1928-2021): phone company head who served the community

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A former general manager of the Bermuda Telephone Company helped to rewire the island’s phone system after he arrived in 1963.

Daniel Mannus, who headed BTC from 1986 until 1991, was also a longstanding member of Hamilton Rotary Club and was president from 1975-76.

A spokesman for the club said that Mr Mannus was also past assistant district governor for District 7230, which includes New York and Bermuda.

He added that Mr Mannus was “devoted and dedicated” across nearly 54 years and a mentor to some of today’s most respected Rotarians.

The spokesman said: “Danny became a Paul Harris Fellow in 1982 and maintained perfect attendance for club activities for years, only retiring from the club in 2019 for health reasons.”

Mr Mannus, originally from Belfast in Northern Ireland, started out in the communications business at age 15, delivering telegrams on a bicycle for the Royal Mail.

Belfast’s shipyards and heavy industry, which included the massive Shorts aircraft factory, made the city a target of Nazi bombing raids.

The Mannus family home took a direct hit from a bomb in April 1941 — which the family found unexploded next to Mr Mannus’s bed.

Mr Mannus told The Royal Gazette in 2011: “As we all stood there crowded in the doorway of the bedroom, the bomb suddenly sputtered, causing everybody to make a mad dash for the stairs to get out of the house, falling and fighting to get away.”

The bomb did not detonate but the family was evacuated from the city.

Mr Mannus’s interest in engineering was sparked by the telecommunications equipment at the Post Office.

He jumped at the chance to work at the phone company in what was then Rhodesia, a British colony in Africa, now Zimbabwe, where he earned an engineering degree from the Institution of Electrical Engineers in Salisbury, now Harare.

There he married his first wife, Elaine, a nurse from South Africa.

Mr Mannus, concerned by social and political turmoil in Rhodesia, saw a fresh opportunity when he met officials from the Bermuda Telephone Company at a conference in Switzerland and found out that they needed an engineer.

Danny Mannus in his pre-Bermuda years (File photograph)

Mr Mannus told the Gazette in 2019: “The next thing I knew, I was here in Bermuda.”

He added that an early priority was updates to the island’s telecoms network.

Mr Mannus also started a side career of public service, starting with Hamilton Rotary Club.

The club spokesman said that Mr Mannus was well respected as an executive as well as an engineer.

He added: “During his leadership with BTC, he introduced many major technological changes which enabled the island to maintain the most up-to-date telecommunications infrastructure.

“His vision and forward-thinking philosophy in technology enabled BTC to meet the island’s demands for serving a growing international business community and their higher-level technical requirements.

“Danny was passionate about his community, and indeed dedicated a huge part of his life in service of the communities in which he lived.”

Mr Mannus and his first wife adopted a daughter, Cathy West.

Elaine Mannus died in 1998.

Mr Mannus met Vivian, his second wife, at a friend’s dinner party, and the couple married in 1999.

He later said: “We were thrown together and never looked back.”

His other charitable efforts included work with the Bermuda Red Cross.

Mr Mannus belonged to the Probus Club, a social group for retired professionals, and was a senior elder at Christ Church, Warwick.

· Daniel Mannus, a former general manager of the Bermuda Telephone Company, was born on December 26, 1928. He died in December 2021, aged 92.

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Published December 22, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated December 22, 2021 at 5:13 pm)

Daniel Mannus (1928-2021): phone company head who served the community

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