Lela Davenport Mann obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Lela Davenport Mann

September 26, 1920 - October 11, 2016

Obituary


Lela Davenport Mann, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, and friend, passed away on October 11, 2016 at the age of 96.

Lela was born in Washington County, North Carolina on September 26, 1920. She grew up an only child on the farm, though her treasured dog Sandy was a constant companion. The first in her family to go to college, she graduated from East Carolina Teachers College and taught home economics in Columbia, NC, where she met Thurston Mann in 1941. World War II interrupted their romance as he was sent to...

Lela Davenport Mann, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, and friend, passed away on October 11, 2016 at the age of 96.

Lela was born in Washington County, North Carolina on September 26, 1920. She grew up an only child on the farm, though her treasured dog Sandy was a constant companion. The first in her family to go to college, she graduated from East Carolina Teachers College and taught home economics in Columbia, NC, where she met Thurston Mann in 1941. World War II interrupted their romance as he was sent to Normandy as a lieutenant in the Navy. They wrote letters for four years, reunited in 1945, and were married at Edenton Street United Methodist Church the day after Thurston returned to the states. They moved to Raleigh, and Lela became a devoted mother to her three children - Jeffrey, Raymond, and Richard.

If Lela was anything, she was a caregiver. Even her childhood cat was the recipient of her kindness - she let him climb through the slats in the floor and sleep with her (against her mother's wishes) on cold nights. She nursed Thurston through debilitating Alzheimer's with a joyful spirit. She taught both home economics and preschool to countless students. Many remember her as a Cub Scout den mother. She was an active and charter member of Highland United Methodist Church, and nurtured friendships that spanned decades. With her boys (and later, her three grandchildren) Lela was always ready with a new game, delicious refreshment, or a comforting hug (sometimes, stinging merthiolate - but no one ever got infections!) She made perfect scrambled eggs and homemade applesauce. Her house on the Pungo River was always crawling with Mann cousins - her chocolate chess pie was a thing of legend.

Lela was preceded in death by Thurston Mann - her husband of 61 years. Left to honor her love are her sons and daughters-in-law, Jeff and Johanna, Ray and Debora, and Richard and Cathy, her grandchildren, Kevin and Brandy, Sarah and Preston, and Rebecca, and three sweet great-grand children, Landon, Oliver, and Conor. She will also be remembered by her sisters-in-law Bonnie Gunn and Kay Mann, nieces and nephews, and her extended Woodstock family.

They will remember the little things - her love of daisies, perfect rug fringe, her sweet tooth, and her fondness for cats - but she will be cherished for the big things - the love she sent across the ocean to Thurston, the way she raised three scrappy boys to become wonderful husbands, fathers, and uncles, the support she gave her daughters-in-law, and the grace she shared with all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Let's toast to Lela Mann (with white grape juice and Sprite, of course.)

A service will be held on Sunday, October 16th at 2:00 PM at Highland United Methodist Church in Raleigh (1901 Ridge Road).

In lieu of flowers, those wishing to send memorials might consider Highland Children's Center, (1901 Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC 27607) or Saving Grace Animal Adoption, (P.O. Box 1649, Wake Forest, NC 27588).





















Arrangements under the direction of Mitchell Funeral Home at Raleigh Memorial Park, Raleigh, NC.