Carol Ann Carson has a mental picture of Carlton Mann on a riding mower, big straw hat atop his head, sprucing up the Greenwood park – a depiction of the man he was.
”It would be 108 degrees out, and I would tell him, ‘That hat isn’t going to do much for you, Carlton. Wait ’til it’s cooler out,’” the Decatur attorney recalled. “But he would just smile and keep on. He took such good care of the park.
Everything he did, he always took care of it.”
Mann, 74, of Greenwood, formerly of Bridgeport, died, from injuries sustained in an accident at the Gainesville Livestock Market the day before.
According to a press release issued by Sgt Bobby D. Balthrop, patrol division public information officer for the Gainesville Police Department, it appears Mann became pinned between a parked vehicle and a trailer after the vehicle pulling the trailer made a sharp turn around 12:45 p.m. Friday.
Mann was flown to Medical City Hospital in Plano, where he died.
A former colleague in administration at the Bridgeport school district said Mann was just as attentive to his career as he was his community.
“He was business manager over the maintenance and operations of the district, and he was a very frugal business manager,” said Bill Thetford, assistant superintendent of administrative services. “But at the same time, he made sure all of the students, teachers and principals had all they needed. He took great care of them.”
Mann also worked for the district as a teacher, coach and principal.
“He was all about the kids,” his brother-in-law, Don Alexander, said. “He loved what he did, and you could tell by how well he did it. He was the kind of guy every community wants to have.”
During his time as business manager of the Bridgeport school district, Mann headed the financial planning of major projects including the new high school, the bus barn, the maintenance shop and the elementary school.
“He saved the district a lot of money but was instrumental in recognizing the need for and planned for many projects,” said Thetford, who worked with Mann for 15 years. “He treated the money the district had as if it were his own, and he protected it as such. He did not approve of frivolous spending, and he was a great protector of the taxpayers’ money.”
After retiring from the school district in 2008, Mann and his wife, Virginia, concentrated their efforts in Greenwood, where the couple owned and operated Greenwood Grocery for a number of years and maintained the community park.
“I would say he was responsible for reviving the interest in the town,” Carson said. “I always admired and appreciated all that he did for Greenwood. He was funny, kind and a very good businessman. He always had a smile, always had a laugh about something. A great, great man.”
Thetford added: “He always had time. Regardless of how busy he was, if you needed to talk to him, he was willing to talk to you. I can’t say enough good things about him.”
Funeral for Mann is 10 a.m. today (Wednesday) at Central Fellowship Church in Decatur with burial at Greenwood Cemetery.
Balthrop said the investigation is ongoing. However, it appears it was a tragic accident, and no charges have been filed.