GREENVILLE, S.C. – Virginia Thomason Brunson Mann, 92, widow of former U.S. Congressman James Robert Mann, died at home after a long illness on February 19, 2015.
Mrs. Mann was born in Edgefield, SC, on May 5, 1922, the daughter of the late Artemas Lowe Brunson and Virginia Thomason Brunson. She grew up in Charleston, and her nostalgia for that city was lifelong. She graduated from Memminger High School and in 1942 from the College of Charleston, where she concentrated on literature and languages, branches of learning she loved throughout her life. At the College her participation in student organizations was extensive, she served as captain of the women’s basketball team, and was a member of Chi Omega sorority. In 2013 she was honored at the College as its oldest living basketball alumna.
In January 1945, Miss Brunson married Major James Mann of Greenville, a 1941 graduate of The Citadel. After the war
the couple lived first in Columbia, where her husband completed USC Law School, then settled in Greenville, where Mr. Mann joined his father’s law firm and quickly entered a career of public service, which culminated in his five terms in Congress, 1969-79. Mrs. Mann was active in her husband’s political life, and for long afterward in the Democratic Women of Greenville County, while rearing four children. In foreign travel with her husband, she met world leaders such as President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel.
Mrs. Mann was always involved in Greenville’s civic life: as a member of the Greenville Garden Club, the Greenville Woman’s Club, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and as a charter member of the Carolinians Debutante Club. She belonged also to the Congressional Club of Washington, DC. Having three sons and a daughter, she was a Cub Scout and Girl Scout leader.
As a member of Earle Street Baptist Church, she was particularly active in the Women’s Missionary Union, and for many years taught young children’s Sunday school. Through the W.M.U. she did ample volunteer work in food-bank distribution and other services.
Mrs. Mann had a family heritage through several generations of teaching the deaf. Her great-grandfather founded the South Carolina School for Deaf and Blind at Cedar Spring, and until marriage her mother taught at the New York State School for the Deaf, having studied at Gallaudet College in Washington under Alexander Graham Bell.
Preceding Mrs. Mann in death were her husband in 2010, and her son William Walker Mann in 2006.
She is survived by her children, James R. Mann Jr., David Brunson Mann (and wife Carol), and Virginia Mann Camarda, all currently of Greenville; by daughter-in-law Claudette Didul of Los Angeles; six grandchildren: Marion, David Jr. (Courtney), Ross, and William Mann, all of Greenville; Thomas Camarda Jr. (Tabitha) of Los Angeles; and Michele Willing (Nick) of London, England; and by six great-grandchildren, Maddie and Tyler Mann of Greenville; Marlon and Roman Camarda of Los Angeles; and Madison and Darcy Willing of London. She is further survived by twenty nieces and nephews, including her sister Idalia’s daughters Susan Hogan and Dale Hogan Murray of Mt. Pleasant, SC. Also surviving is her only first cousin, Samuel McDowell Tate of Morganton, NC, whose mother was Principal of the NC Deaf School there.
The family wishes to express its profound gratitude to the in-home caregivers of Amedisys Hospice, whose constant professional assistance and counsel were indispensable in Mrs. Mann’s care for more than a year.
Visitation will be Monday, February 23, 2015 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at Thomas McAfee Funeral Home, Downtown. The funeral service will be Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. at Earle Street Baptist Church. Burial will be in Woodlawn Memorial Park.
Memorials may be made to Earle Street Baptist Church, 225 W. Earle Street, Greenville, SC 29609; or to the Begin AdTech Script Alzheimer’s Association End AdTech Script , Greenville Chapter, 301 University Ridge, Suite 5300, Greenville, SC 29601.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.thomasmcafee.com.