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Announcement Details
Tommy Chester Mann, Sr. • 16 Jun 1922 - 27 Aug 2010
Created by host on 9/1/2010 11:23:19 PM

Tommy Chester Mann, son of Lemuel & Mamie Holland Mann, died Friday, August 27, 2010 in Sanford, North Carolina after a long life of service and community involvement.  Here is his obituary as reported in The Sanford Herald

Tommy Chester Mann Sr. culminated a life of loving service and dedication on Friday, Aug. 27, 2010. He was 88 years old.

A Jonesboro native, he married a Sanford girl, Sarah Miller in the summer of 1941 and enjoyed 69 years of marriage to her. She was the boulder of support behind the rock that he was. Together, they never faltered. He was preceded in death by his parents Lemuel Chester Mann and Mamie Jane Mann. Seven brothers and sisters Dora Dobbins, Helen Graham, Jeanette Payne, Francis Willitt, L.C. Mann Jr, Hammett Mann, and Ben Joe Mann.

He is survived by his wife Sarah, and three children all of Sanford. Sons Tommy Mann, Jr. and wife Joyce, Randy Mann, and wife Vicki, and daughter Peggy Hendley, and husband Mike. Two brothers, Lindsay Mann of Greenville, SC and Shelton Mann of Orlando, Fl. Six grandchildren, Chet Mann and Wife Missi, Jeff Mann, and wife Stephanie, Michelle Leonhardt and husband Andy, John Hendley, and Ginny and Kelsey Mann. Four great- grandchildren. T.C and Elliot Mann, Holland and Ben Leonhardt.

After a short stint at Edwards Co Tommy served his country during WWII in the United States Air Force where he taught Air Force Aircraft Mechanics. He then returned home to Sanford and became the owner of Mann Implement Company that specialized in tractor and farm machinery and Evinrude Boat and Motors.

In 1968 he embarked on his second career as the first student recruitment officer and then helped create and became the first Industrial Development Officer at what was then the Central Carolina Technical Institute. Tommy's foresight in understanding the need to shift from an Agricultural environment into an Industrial Manufacturing base proved valuable in his efforts to retrain our local workforce and offer programs with and for our local industry. Alongside Dr. Jeff Hockaday the institute grew from 50 applicants at the time to the institution that we know as the College today. He was quoted as saying his time at CCCC were some of the happiest days of his life.

He retired in 1988 from CCCC and quickly dove into another project where he nearly single handedly saved the former Sanford High School and began the process of creating the Lee County Arts and Community Center which today is home to numerous local non-profit agencies such as the Coalition for Families, the United Way, and many others offering an affordable and sustainable place of work to carry on their missions. The hours he spent there stretching budget dollars and personally renovating room by room are too countless to measure.

With his continuing passion for serving others he began another facet of life early on with his devotion to public service. Serving as Alderman from the early 1950s 1963 and then as Mayor of Sanford from 1963-1965. He continued his efforts to improve the needs of the community.

Some highlights included working with T.C. Griffin, Dr. Mary Margaret McLeod, and local General Assembly Rep Shelton Wicker to create what we know as the Lee-Harnett Mental Health Center. Other notable accomplishments of his time as Mayor include the rebuilding of public sidewalks and safer intersections, moving the water pumping station to the Deep River where it is now thereby improving our water and sewer infrastructure helping foster the Industrial Revolution in Lee County that began shortly thereafter. His continued championing of industrial recruitment helped set a record number of jobs both as a public servant and as an official at CCCC.

While his business and public service were significant to his life's work his greatest joys may have been his time spent with Scouting, Civic Organizations, and his Church. Tommy spent many years involved with the Boy Scouts of America. He led hundreds of young, local boys, including his two sons. His oldest son Tommy was part of the first Sea Scout Troop in the area and his youngest son, Randy went on to achieve his Eagle Scout Award.

For all his years of scouting he was bestowed the Silver Beaver Award in 1961 which is the highest volunteer service award given by the National Boy Scouts of America. He was a charter member of the Sanford Jaycees where he helped create the first Sanford Annual Christmas Parade and in 1950 they elected him as State Director of the Junior Chamber of Commerce. His love of civic work continued as a member of the Sanford Lions Club where he held nearly every position including President and recently was honored for his over 50 plus years of service excellence.

Foremost in his life was his love and service to his church, First Presbyterian Church of Sanford. Strong in his Christian faith he worked tirelessly for his Lord and church family and had a deep passion for it. His family knew that it was encouraged to do many things but that church should come first. He served in nearly every capacity at First Presbyterian including Deacon, Elder, Sunday School teacher and Superintendent.

He started the Presbyterian Men of the Church and was their delegate to the NC General Presbyterian Assembly. He then became State President of the NC Presbyterian Men.

His personal loves and hobbies outside those mentioned included quail hunting and fishing both of which he was extraordinary. Golf and wood carving were other enjoyments he had. Most of all he will be remembered for his role as a family man. His love and compassion for others especially his family was deep and unobstructed. Tommy lived by simple principles and never wavered. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" was his guiding principle. He led others by example, served hundreds of meals at the Sanford Lions Club and the Men of the Church.

His listening skills were second to none and his ability to solve problems and counsel others in need proved invaluable over the six decades of his adult life. He was a man of vision and caring who knew how to nurture his family and in the end he will be most remembered for this. He will be greatly missed but his legacy will live on through his great body of work and his children and grand children for many years to come.
Honors and recognitions too numerous to include all:

  • Mayor of Sanford 1963-1965
  • City of Sanford Alderman 1951-1963
  • State Director Junior Chamber of Commerce 1950
  • Silver Beaver Award Boy Scouts of America 1961
  • Governor's Award for Scouting Breakthrough for Youth 1967
  • Sanford Lions Club Lion of the Year - 1976-77
  • Chairman of Sanford City Golf Commission 1980 - 1996
  • Sanford Chamber of Commerce President - 1988
  • Central Carolina Community College Board of Trustees 15 years
  • Central Carolina Hospital Board of Trustees, 1987 -92 Chairman 1990-92
  • Melvin Jones Fellow Humanitarian Services Award 1992-93
  • Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizen Award 1990
  • Civitan Citizen of the Year Award 1996
  • Sanford Herald Citizen of the Year Award 2000
  • Sanford Herald Lifetime Achievement Award 2005
  • Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizens Award 2006
  • Elder Emeritus First Presbyterian Church 2010

A visitation service will be held Sunday at Miller Boles Funeral home in Sanford from 6:30 8:30 p.m.

Funeral services will be held on Monday at the First Presbyterian Church in Sanford at 2. Members of the Sanford Lions Club are asked to sit together and serve as honorary pall-bearers.

Gifts and memorials can be made to:
• The First Presbyterian Church of Sanford Organ Fund
• Central Carolina Community College Tommy and Sarah Mann Scholarship Fund
• Lee County Arts and Community Center

Read more: Sanford Herald - 9317483

SANFORD — Funeral service for Tommy Chester Mann was held Monday at First Presbyterian Church in Sanford with Dr. Stuart Thomas Wilson and Bishop Paul Leeland officiating. Burial followed at Buffalo Cemetery with military honors.

A special song was played. Organist was David Almond. Soloist was Brooks Bristow. Pallbearers were Bobby Payne, Ricky Payne, Brent Stevens, David Miller, Joe Miller, Ronnie Miller, Bud Miller and Scott Miller.

Arrangements were by Miller-Boles Funeral Home of Sanford.


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