Jeff Lee Manthos: Welcome to my Website


Here you will find information about my work, my interests, and my passions in life. There are individual pages relating to my violin making career, my current involvement with writing, living with cancer, and a bit of family history.

Since my father was a career Air Force fighter pilot, my family moved continually for much of my youth. We were stationed in Ankara, Turkey, for two years, finally settling in Laramie, Wyoming, after Dad's retirement. We moved yet again in 1965 to Fort Collins, Colorado, where I attended secondary schools and briefly, Colorado State University. I enlisted in the Navy in 1972, and that period is the subject of my first book, Steel Beach. There is more information about that book at the authorship page.

After my enlistment I attended the University of Northern Colorado, where I obtained a BA in Philosophy. Having learned how to play the viola and violin while a student there, I developed a fascination with those instruments. I wanted to know how they worked, how they were put together, what made a violin or viola sound good. And I already knew I liked to work with my hands. I applied to a violin making school.

Shortly after graduating UNC I attended the Violin Making School of America for four years. That led to a career as a violin maker, spanning the past four decades. I am still busy at my workbench producing select instruments on a limited basis.

I have always loved the written word, and decided to pursue writing alongside my violin making. I dedicated several years to writing full time, which led to the publication of Steel Beach in 2007.

One of the primary factors in the decision to take the time to write was the diagnosis and continuing presence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in my body. I have successfully beaten four manifestations of that blood cancer since my initial diagnosis in 2002. (There are some cancer resources listed on my Living with Cancer page.)

Cancer is also the subject of my second book, Planet Chemo: Confessions of a Self-contained Man. A description and excerpt of this manuscript is under the books in progress page in the authorship section. The authorship area also has information on current and future projects as well as some general writing background.

I approach writing with the same energy and passion I feel towards violin making. I hope to keep beating cancer with that same energy and passion. I also hope to mine the many ideas I have for stories, as well as delve into my instrument wood supply and continue to make violins and violas, as I find peace at my workbench.

Other pursuits include cycling, gardening, weight lifting, reading, and endless yet satisfying home projects. My greatest passion is my relationship with Karen Gordon; she is my true life-partner. Here is a link to her home page:


Feb 07th, 2016

Current News

April 2015
Instrument Show Northwest Musical Instrument Exhibit: Saturday and Sunday, April 25th & 26th, 2015 Marylhurst University, near Portland, Oregon. Map
January 2015
Jeff was interviewed by the University of Oregon's school of jounalism for their series Northwest Stories. Video link
Jeff is completing a 16 1/2" Da Salo model viola which will be available soon. His next instrument is a 15 3/4" viola on his own pattern, which will be ready by late spring.
May 2014
Northwest Musical Instrument Exhibit: Saturday and Sunday, May 3th & 4th, 2014 Marylhurst University, Lake Oswego, Oregon.
January 2014
Jeff recently sold a 15 3/4" viola and is working on another of the same pattern.
April 2013
Annual Instrument Show Northwest Musical Instrument Exhibit: Saturday and Sunday, April 27th & 28th, 2013 Marylhurst University, near Portland, Oregon.
March 2013
Jeff has several violins and violas available, call for details.
February 2011
Jeff has recently finished radiation treatments for his 3rd relapse of lymphoma.
August 2010
Jeff has moved! His new contact information: 2635 SW Fairmont Drive
Corvallis, OR 97333
New e-mail:
May 2010
Jeff was the keynote speaker at the Modesto, California, Doctors Medical Center cancer survivor celebration of May 15th.
November 2009
Jeff is the featured cancer survivor in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Horizons newsletter, Volume 6, Number 3. Contact Jeff for a free print copy, a limited number are available.
March 2009
Jeff's interview about his Sea King helicopter adventures with aviation historian and journalist Tamas Szorad has been published in the March, 2009 issue of the European aviation periodical Aeromagazin of Budapest, Hungary.
February 2009
Jeff's short story The Warrior's Song was published in Perceptions, Mt Hood Community College's magazine of the arts this spring. (
May 2008
Steel Beach has been selected by a Florida High School history class as literature of the Vietnam War era.
December 2, 2007
Finalist in the Oregon Book Awards for creative nonfiction. Literary Arts
April 2007
Published release of Steel Beach
(Inkwater Press ).

Contact information

Street: 2635 SW Fairmont Drive
City/State: Corvallis, OR 97333
Phone: 541-754-7645