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Jon A. Mangis

October 9, 1941 - November 11, 2017

Jon Mangis was born in Salem, Oregon, to Maurice W. Mangis and Frances L. Weddle Mangis. His mother’s family arrived in the Jefferson area on the Shelton-Weddle Wagon Train in 1847. Jon’s father, a B-17 pilot was killed returning from a mission over Germany, Christmas 1943.

Jon attended schools in Coos Bay and Salem, graduating from South Salem High School in 1959. He graduated from Western Oregon University (OCE) in 1969 and was awarded the Alumni Award of Excellence in 1992. 

Jon served in the US Air Force and later in the Oregon Army National Guard, retiring as a Sergeant Major. Among the awards received were the Vietnam Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and Meritorious Service Medal. He was also awarded the Oregon Distinguished Service Award by the Oregon Military Department.

Jon began a career at the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs in 1970. He served in many positions and in 1985 was appointed Director by Governor Victor Atiyeh. Jon was reappointed by Governors Goldschmidt, Roberts, Kitzhaber and Kulongoski. In 2003 he was recruited by Governor Mark Warner of Virginia to reorganize the Virginia Department of Veterans Affairs.

Jon always said that his time with the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA) was the greatest career anyone could ask for. He loved his coworkers and always gave them personal credit in correcting an $800 million shortfall in the veteran’s loan program ... without a bail out from the state. During his tenure the agency was recognized as the Best Managed State Agency, Best Management Training program, Best Customer Service program, and Best Affirmative Action program. He received the Melvin T. Dixon Award as the Outstanding Director of Veterans Affairs in the United States; he served as President of the National Association of State Director of Veterans Affairs. ODVA was rated by an independent study as “more effective and efficient” than any major lender in Oregon. He received numerous personal awards from state and national veterans’ organizations and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In 1994 President Clinton appointed him to the National WW II Memorial Advisory Board to assist with design and fund raising. Jon’s suggestion for gold stars to honor those killed in action was incorporated into the final design. He served until the National Memorial was dedicated in 2004.

He served on the Oregon Public Lands Advisory Committee and Oregon State Bond Committee and was appointed to the Oregon Construction Contractors Board in 2009. After retirement he set a goal to read 100 books a year; he mentored a young student through Marion County New Solutions. Jon wanted to thank all those individuals he worked with and all the Veterans that took time to say hello to him. He admired all who wore the uniform of their country. Jon was honest, kind, witty, sarcastic, humble, and a tireless advocate for Veterans. Like Will Rogers, he never met a person he did not like.
Jon is survived by his wife Peggy; his son Philip of Beverly, Massachusetts ; his daughter Leah of Salem,  both of whom he loved very much; his sister Patricia Weber of Redmond, his aunt Barbara Haskins of Salem, and his faithful cat Stella.

A Celebration of Life will be held in Salem on Sunday, November 26, 2017, at Willamette Heritage Center – Mission Mill’s Spinning Room at 2 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to Vietnam Veterans of Oregon Memorial Fund, c/o Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service, 605 Commercial St. SE, Salem, OR 97302 or Willamette Humane Society .
The family also wishes to thank Willamette Valley Hospice.

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