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James Allen Talley Jr. was born in the early hours of Christmas morning on Sunday, December 25, 1983, in Pennsylvania hospital to James Allen Talley Sr. and Lynne Renee Turner. He was the only Christmas gift that mattered to Jimmy. He was the eldest of their two children. James went by many nicknames but was affectionately known as “Manny” to everyone.
Manny was raised in the church. He was baptized at an early age at Open Door Mission FBH Church, and from there on, he planted seeds in many directions of his Life; Manny was a self-taught Drummer, a DJ, an engineer of Lights and Sound. His favorite line when someone asked him for help, or his expertise was “I Got You.”
As a child Manny enjoyed himself (when he was not on punishment) he rode bikes, played sports, video games, went swimming, played in abandon houses (even fell thru the ceiling of one once), mated dogs (he almost lost his life when he fed his dog his Moms Kabasa and Sausages). But nothing came close to going to the studio and watching his dad play the drums. That is where he got his first taste of being a musician.
All his life Manny has had a mean and serious look on his face a “don’t play with me” attitude and would sternly tell you “get out my face” if he wasn’t feeling your energy. But he has always been a protector by nature. Even as a child he made sure everybody was taken care of. He used to make syrup and sugar sandwiches, and half-done burnt pancakes and would hide them in the drawer for himself, Kia & Reree to have a late-night snack to eat. When his mom would ask him for his personal market list of snacks he wrote “Grits” because he wanted to make sure she didn’t run out.
Punishment was Manny’s favorite place to be, sometimes a week, the summer, once for an entire year! He even got suspended on the last day of school. Manny was always fighting, because he was short, he always had to prove himself not to be a punk. He fought any and everybody, he might fight his friend today and was back hanging out the next day with no love lost. His biggest and longest rivalry was fighting Reree and Kia, he may have protected them from the rest of the world, but he had no shame in thumping on them either, so to taunt him they made up songs to get under his skin. They had an all-time favorite “Open up the window cus ya room stink” inspired by one of Lynne’s rants about Manny living like a practicing homeless person.
Manny’s first lead gig was for his grandma Dot’s drill team “The Strawberry Mansion Dynamite Steppers,” he was the youngest drummer, but he was also the Baddest, the Boldest, and unfortunately the stubbornest- he refused to march or play unless you fed him! He ended his drill team drumming career with the West Powelton Drill Team.
In 2004 Manny began fellowshipping at Saint John Memorial Baptist Church, where he met the Love of his Life Darmaine Ellis, whom he married on his birthday December 25, 2015. Together they share three sons: Aayon, Aajier, and Aasier.
Manny had a true sound of his own. Who could imagine that Manny would make history playing for and has traveled around the world with many famous bands and choirs including “The Scott Singers, The Williams Brothers, The Wright Family, Blaque Tye Affair and countless others.” He has also engineered and created a unique sound for numerous recordings in studio, live performances, churches, concerts, and various events in the tri-state area. Because of his unique sound and skill, Manny accomplished getting an endorsement with Arborea Cymbals and Scorpion Percussion for their drum equipment. But… If you ever wanted to see him in rare form, hire him to DJ your event. “DJ Manny Strong” was your favorite DJ’s favorite DJ (it was a skill he crafted and perfected by watching his father Jimmy and Uncle Art throughout his youth) not only did he hype the crowd up, he moved it. He was a true-to-heart entertainer, he loved to bring people together and put others on.
Manny always surrounded himself with good spirited and positive people. One of the groups he took pride in was the Game Changer Auto Club, who gave him the name “Lil Man.” He was gifted the position as the club’s road captain, and he took pride in making sure everyone got to their destination safely and on time. Doing charity work with them bought him a sense of pride and joy – getting his colors was one of the proudest moments of his life!
Manny was a show up for you type of person. In good times, celebration, and in tragic situations. Manny could tell you the funny lines of a movie or lead the latest line dance at a party. Manny was so excited to celebrate his 40th birthday, he laughed, he hugged and loved everyone that was in attendance. He was so happy at how the event turned out and elated that so many people showed up for him. Personally, I am glad he was given his flowers of Love and Appreciation because who knew that he would leave us six days later.
James may not have lived to reach old age, but his life was FULL, it was Plentiful, it was Meaningful, and it Memorable. He was loved and he knew how to love those he cared about. His heart was too big for this world so God took him where he would have more space. Sadly, his time with us has expired but the memories, stories, and love we felt for him are timeless. God has welcomed his son James home and leaves us to celebrate the memory of our Husband, father, Son, Brother, Uncle, Nephew, Cousin, and beloved Friend.
Remembering him in love and cherishing his memories are his devoted wife Darmaine, two sons Aajier and Aasier, his mother Lynne, father James Sr. (Jimmy), his siblings Shakia, Javaughn, Ja’Quai, Jaydin, and Ja’Ona. Manny also leaves behind to continue his memory his brother in arms, his best friend Simon (Dink), his extended siblings Carolyn, Aaron, and Ronald. One niece Gray “Lil One.” His god parents Doris, and Charles, nine god children. Three sisters-in-law Marcia, Patricia, and Loreal, three brothers-in-law Johnny, William, and Eldridge. Two grandfathers, five aunts, three uncles, and a host of cousins and other family members who all loved and valued him and will deeply miss him. James went home to join his son Aayon, his two grandmothers Alfreda and Dorothy, his uncle Reg and cousin Shareef whom all proceeded him in death. With grateful tears and aching hearts, we thank you Lord for the time, experiences, and memories we have had with our departed Manny. We unselfishly commit him back to you to start his new life at your side.