This week we lost a dear friend, a leader, a visionary, a man who dedicated his life to promoting recovery for alcohol and drug dependent individuals and their families.
George Mann was one of the few remaining of a generation of true pioneers in the addiction treatment field. Men and women who challenged the hopelessness and punitive social stigmas surrounding the alcoholic, and against all odds, helped to create the Minnesota Model of recovery that today is credited for helping millions of men and women throughout the world.
In 1967, while serving as an anesthesiologist on the staff of St. Mary’s Hospital, Dr. Mann was touched personally by his wife Marion’s battle with alcoholism. As a result of her successful treatment and recovery he chose to dedicate his life to serving alcohol and drug dependent men and women and their families.
In 1968 he opened St. Mary’s Treatment Center, the first hospital-based program in Minnesota. For 20 years he served as the Director pioneering the treatment of alcoholism as a family illness with a family solution. St. Mary’s became the gold standard for hospital-based chemical dependency services in the United States and abroad.
During his long career George authored numerous books and journal articles on chemical dependency. He consulted with hundreds of treatment programs throughout the US and many other countries.
George served on the H.E.A.R.T. Board of Directors and was a Chairman of the Board for the Johnson Institute.
After retiring from St. Mary’s in 1988 he began a new chapter in his life. In 1991, concerned with the steady decline in available and affordable residential treatment services, he formed the Community of Recovering People, a group of dedicated professional and recovered individuals committed to coming up with another approach to helping alcoholics recover that was affordable, effective and grounded in the spirituality of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Seven years later, in 1998, as a result of his vision inspiration and dedication, The Retreat, a revolution in affordable, spiritually grounded recovery, opened its doors.
George served as The Retreat’s Chairman of the Board and as an active and vital innovator and creative force for the remainder of his life.
He was the founding member and spiritual leader of The Quest Group, a group of men who have been meeting for the past 24 years supporting each other to live a spiritual life in an often times noisy world.
George was a devoted husband to his incredible wife Marion for over 63 years and was a loving father to his 7 children, 9 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.
What was so unique about George was his gift of seeing all individuals as spiritual beings, that at the core of recovery lies a spiritual transformation. George, more than anyone else I have known in my life, lived Spirituality.
I could not have asked for a better partner, mentor and friend.
We will forever honor and cherish this man who has dedicated his life to helping individuals and their families recover from the disease of addiction and to nurture a deeper sense of meaning and spirit in their lives.
George, you touched the hearts of all of us and have truly made a difference in the lives of countless men and women, and for that we are deeply grateful.
On the afternoon of February 7th, 2012 George Mann lost his 20-year battle with cancer and made the great leap to the eternal spirit of heaven.
George showed us all how to live and how to die, with grace, dignity and a never-ending belief in the importance of living a GOD centered life.
You have changed us all George, for the better, and we will always be grateful for the time we were permitted to walk the earth with you.
In love & gratitude,
George was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Laura Mann; daughter, Susan and granddaughter Kaylee. Survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Marion; children, James (Kirsten), Laure (Kevin), Eric (Mary), Kathleen (Scott), Sandra (Larry) and John; grandchildren Sarah, Hannah, Kirsten, Jessica, Nicholas, Stephanie, Amy and Lisa; great-grandchildren Cami, Kiera, Gavin, Wesley, Sawyer, Tucker and Evelynn and many dear friends.
There will be a visitation Saturday February 11th from 12-4 pm followed by a memorial service at 4 PM at the Roseville Memorial Chapel (2245 North Hamline Ave., Roseville 651- 631-2727).
A CELEBRATION OF GEORGE’S LIFE WILL BE HOSTED AT THE RETREAT (1221 Wayzata Blvd East, Wayzata, MN) ON FEBRUARY 29TH AT 7PM.