John Russell “Johnny” Mann
John Russell Mann, age 85, of Anderson, SC, passed away on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at his home. Born in Baltimore, MD, he was the son of the late Ellsworth Franklin Mann and the late Lillian Howard Mann.
A celebrated musician under the professional name Johnny Mann, Mr. Mann was known simply as “John” to his friends. He began his music career in the late 1940s in his native Baltimore, Maryland. He served in the army from 1951 to 1953 playing trombone as a member of the U.S. Army Field Band and relocated to Los Angeles after his honorable discharge to continue his professional music career. In his career as a singer, entertainer, choral director, arranger, composer and producer, he worked with some of the biggest names in show business, released 42 albums, won two Grammy awards (out of five nominations), had his own television show, “Johnny Mann’s Stand Up and Cheer,” and performed at the White House twice with his Johnny Mann Singers. He was also the voice of Theodore in “Alvin and the Chipmunks” in the 1950s and early 1960s, serving as musical director for the popular children’s cartoon show. He established and operated the Great American Choral Festival from 1982 to 1984.
John and his wife Betty retired to Anderson in 2005, where he continued to produce radio station jingles, guest conduct around the country and participate in local musical programs, including the Cancer Association of Anderson’s Concert of Hope and Remembrance. He was presented an honorary doctorate by Anderson University in 2010 and wrote the university’s new alma mater, “The Sounds of Anderson.” Mr. Mann was a member of St. John’s United Methodist Church, where he and Betty sang in the choir. The couple celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in August 2013.
He is survived by his wife, Betty Weinmann Mann; two daughters, Susan Lori Mann and Jennifer Lee Mann, both of Los Angeles, CA; step-son, Peter James Schulien of Anderson, SC; step-daughter, Stephanie Ann (Jim) Barr of Anderson, SC; one grandchild, Austin Kang of Los Angeles, CA; half-sister, Josephine (Michael) Steciuk of Hawaii; cousin, Russell Howard of San Luis Obispo, CA.; four sisters-in-law; four brothers-in-law; and many nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a half-brother, Ellsworth Franklin (Nick) Mann, Jr.
The memorial service to celebrate the life of John Mann will be held on Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 11:00 am at St. John’s United Methodist Church with Richard Brennan and Reverend Dan Batson officiating. The family will receive friends at The McDougald Funeral Home, 2211 North Main Street, Anderson, SC, 29612 on Friday, June 27, 2014 from 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. John’s United Methodist Church Choir Fund, 515 S. McDuffie Street, Anderson, SC 29624 or Anderson University’s South Carolina School of the Arts, 316 Boulevard, Anderson, SC 29621.