Józef Manterys was born in Miroszów. From 1936 to 1943 he attended primary school there and then at the neighbouring village of Kropidło, 5km from home. Each school day and in all seasons he walked this distance on country paths.
During the remaining years of World War II he completed primary school and started secondary school by taking lessons at home, with the help of people from Miroszów who were in hiding from the German occupying authorities. From among those teachers he remembers most a priest, Father Józef Dembiński, a patriotic underground activist from the Polish province of Western Pomerania.
When the war ended in January 1945, Józef attended the Tadeusz Kościuszko High School in Miechów. In 1947 he received a certificate of completion of four classes of high school. Post-war schooling was difficult due to a shortage of basic knowledge of subjects which were particularly forbidden during the German occupation, as well as a shortage of text books. Józef became ill during the summer break and could not continue his schooling. Confined to home, he became involved in community activities. He was the founder of the Rural Youth Union (Związek Młodzieży Wiejskiej, WICI) and within the limits of his capabilities organised cultural and sporting activities.
In 1948 he began to study at the High School of Agriculture and Breeding in Nawojowa, near Nowy Sącz. He completed that with a matriculation exam in 1950. He began the then compulsory period of work at the District Board of State Farms in Białystok. This did not last long because he was called up to compulsory military service. Because he had completed high school he was retrained and sent to do office work with the chief quartermaster of the Polish army.
After 28 months of military service, he started work at the Military Headquarters of Commerce, where he worked in various positions for over 23 years. During this period, after a number of courses, Józef deepened his general and professional knowledge. In 1974 he graduated from Higher Vocational Studies, Faculty of Law Administration at Warsaw University. In the same year Józef took up the post of director of a manufacturing establishment, in general construction, which he ran for 16 years.
At the age of 60, after retirement, he continued working on the Board of Housing Cooperative. In 1964, after liquidation of the family farm, he took in his parents in Ursus and assumed responsibility for them. In 1956 he married Danuta Więcławska from Ursus. They have one son, Grzegorz, who is single and lives with them.