He was born Oct. 2, 1961, in Clayton to Walter Eugene and Mary Evelyn Owens Mance. He grew up in Clayton and graduated from Rabun County High School. He went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in history from Piedmont College. Upon receiving his bachelor’s degree at Piedmont College, Chris became a history teacher, assistant football, head baseball and golf coach and later head boys basketball coach at RCHS. While coaching at Rabun County, he received his master’s degree in education at Clemson University and married Phyllis Farris Mance. He later became assistant principal at Elbert County High School. While coaching at Elbert County, he received his education specialist degree at Clemson University. Chris was affiliated with the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders, Georgia High School Region 8AAA secretary, Professional Association of Georgia Educators and National Association of Secondary Principals Association.
In addition to teaching and leading for over 28 years, he also received many awards, such as being named Georgia/Tennessee all-star basketball coach in 1998 and 1999, “I Dare You” Principal’s Award, and until recently held the most wins in boys basketball at RCHS. In 2009, Chris became principal of Gainesville High School. During his leadership at Gainesville High, the school received the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence award and the National Youth at Risk award. Chris was also the Sunday school superintendent at the Clayton First United Methodist Church, a position he held for 25 years.
Chris leaves behind: his beloved wife, Phyllis; two sons, Brian Mance Jr. and Farris Mance, both of Gainesville; his mother and father, Walter and Mary Mance; two sisters, Cherryl Mance Long (Farris Long) of Clayton and Shelia Mance Wright (Tracy Wright) of Martin; mother-in-law, Bertha Farris of Gainesville; father-in-law, James Rapier Farris of Montgomery, Ala.; sister-in-law, Deborah Taylor of Madison, Wis.; brother-in-law, Keith Conley of Morganton, N.C.; and two close friends very much like brothers, Mark Beck and Ferron Welch, both of Clayton. In addition to his immediate family, he also leaves behind a host of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of students and colleagues.
The life Chris led as a dedicated husband, father, son, brother, coach and principal is a witness and testimony that you can do great things with hard work, integrity, family support and the love of Christ in your heart.
Funeral services were held Wednesday at the Gainesville High School gymnasium with the Revs. Calvin Haney and Bill Coates officiating, along with tributes from former players and students. Burial followed at the Tallulah Falls United Methodist Church Cemetery with the Rev. James E. Turpen Sr. officiating. The family received friends Tuesday at the Gainesville High School gymnasium.
There will also be a memorial service held at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Fine Arts Building at Rabun County High School.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Chris Mance Memorial Scholarship, c/o the North Georgia Community Foundation, 615 F Oak St., suite 1300, Gainesville, GA 30501.
Little & Davenport Funeral Home in Gainesville is in charge of arrangements. An online guestbook is available at www.littledavenport.com.
The Clayton Tribune, May 3, 2012