DOBBINS HEIGHTS — Channie McManus is a well-known name in the small town of Dobbins Heights, but not just because of the street that bears her name. McManus passed away Thursday at the age of 92 and is remembered for being one of the first members of Dobbins Heights’ town council, as well as receiving the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in December.
“She was one of the original council members when the town was formed,” said Mayor Antonio Blue. “Before the town was formed she served as secretary for the Dobbins Heights Community Development Association.”
Along with Robert Broady, the two were the last remaining original council members, and Blue said McManus also served as mayor in 1991.
“She’s been the only female mayor of the town,” he said. “Personally, I grew up knowing Mrs. Channie. She was a pillar of the community. She was just a great person and a joy to be around and a wealth of knowledge. I personally stand on the shoulders of people just like Channie McManus, being in the position I am today, because of her leadership and her guidance. She will be greatly missed in the community.”
Pillar was a word often thrown out when discussing McManus, and her daughter Mary Gibson said the same.
“She was a pillar. She was born in this area, raised in this area, never moved out, so she was just one of the pillars that held up the community,” said Gibson. “She was like a mother to a lot of people. They always called her ‘Mother Channie.’”
Of course, for Gibson, she was able to call her ‘Mother Channie’ legitimately, but said her mom was all about helping children even if they didn’t belong to her.
“Mother was all about children. She loved the children and grandchildren,” she said. “I think the thing was with her with grandchildren, she was always encouraging education, wanting us to read. She would always wanna read a book to us.”
Broady, who served on the first town council with McManus called her a “pioneer” and said he first met her when he came home in 1973 and served on the community association together. It was then that they began to turn Dobbins Heights into an official town.
“I worked with her on several committees and from there we pursued to incorporate,” said Broady. “She was always supportive, and she was always looking for the future. She was one of the pillars. She was a strong, determined lady, strong in her convictions.”
Current town council member Angeline David began her first term taking over McManus’ seat and found that the veteran councilwoman had some sage advice for her.
“She said, ‘You can’t make any decision on your own,’” said David. “And from that I learned from somebody that really knew how to handle a town or what should be done in a town. In the way she told me, it was a good way for me to start. I could’ve took off like I knew something, but I didn’t. I don’t make decisions, and she gave me that from the beginning. A person with wisdom, that was her. So much wisdom.”
David said she used to visit with McManus at the town hall and said she was always very attentive, not just with her but with all Dobbins Heights residents. McManus knew everyone in town, said David.
“It seemed like she knew everybody,” David said. “I think she probably knew everybody in the town. I’ve learned some of them, but she really learned them. Out of all that I can say about her is that I was empowered by her and the way she explained things, especially in politics.”
Reach reporter Matt Harrelson at 910-817-2674 and follow him on Twitter @mattyharrelson.