Sue Benton Manning

On Aug. 25, 2018, Sue Benton Manning, 80, passed away at her home in Greenville, South Carolina.

She was born in Monroe to Glenn and Frances Austin Benton and grew up in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

She attended Winthrop Training School and later Winthrop College.

Unconventional, irreverent and outspoken, she blazed her own path in this world with her larger-than-life vivacity and admirable strength. A true force of nature, she earned the name "Crazy Sue" as a child, with her antics and wild ways. She was both a tomboy and a beauty, and her quick wit and flair for the dramatic made her a natural actress; she had an undeniable stage presence and beautiful smile.

Never one to sit still, she played squash, tennis and basketball, and could sink a killer hook shot well into her 60s. She often proclaimed, "I don't ever want to grow up!"

She connected easily with children, as they were drawn to and adored her playful nature.

Over the years, she volunteered for many organizations, but the role that gave her the most joy was dressing as a clown to entertain patients at GHS Children's Hospital.

Cooking was her true passion in life, and her way of connecting with and showing love for others. Ahead of her time on the farm-to-table movement, she drove miles for a specific variety of corn or watermelon and must have patronized every roadside stand in South Carolina. Her cooking ranged from elaborate boeuf bourguignon and risotto to buttermilk biscuits, peach cobbler and fried chicken. Her family estimates that she has fed at least half of the state.

She and her family lived in Spartanburg, South Carolina and then in Greenville, South Carolina for more than 30 years before she and Mackie, her husband, moved to Cashiers. Living in the mountains of western North Carolina allowed her to reconnect with a sense of awe and wonder. "I reinvented myself in the mountains," she wrote not long ago, "and savored the simple things like learning to play the mountain dulcimer and acting in community theater. I loved growing vegetables in my garden labyrinth, canning and preserving in the summer, and cooking for friends and relatives."

Mountain life inspired her to ask the big questions: Why am I here? What am I supposed to learn?

Being true to oneself and caring for the Earth and using its resources wisely moved to the front of her mind, and she believed strongly that everyone was entitled to have a place to sleep and enough to eat. She was a voracious reader, learning much about life through the works of such writers as Wendell Berry, Rachel Carson, and St. Thérèse de Lisieux.

She spent many hours in silence and solitude, studying and writing about spirituality, and described herself as a day-dreamer, a mystic and a contemplative.

She is predeceased by her husband Wellington "Mackie" Manning and her daughter, Cynthia Blankenship.

She is survived by her daughters, Stephanie Pierce (Dane), and Susie Héron (Rémi); her sisters, Anne Oates of Rock Hill, South Carolina and Linda Ratterree (Coleman) of Blowing Rock, North Carolina; and her grandchildren, Katie Nodtvedt (Ben) and their daughter, Harper, Ellie Pierce, Zack Blankenship, Charlotte Héron, Sophie Héron, Chris Pierce and Andrew Pierce (Angie) and their children, Adeline and August.

At her request, there will be no services. To celebrate her life, take time today to enjoy the beauty of nature, savor an heirloom tomato, or share a home-cooked meal with loved ones.

She was grateful for the care that she received by Dr. Gary Spitzer, Dr. Fahd Quddus and all the wonderful infusion nurses at the Bon Secours Cancer Center. Special thanks go to her compassionate caregivers, especially Alma Valerio and Cyndy Proctor, and to the interim hospice nurses for their care.

Memorial donations may be made to Feeding America (www.feedingamerica.org), the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown (www.folkschool.org) or to Heifer International (www.heifer.org).

Visit the Mackey Mortuary online guest registry at www.mackeymortuary.com.

Crossroads Chronicle

Mailing Address:
PO Box 1040
94 U.S. Highway 64 West, Suite 1 (Shoppes on the Green)
Cashiers, NC 28717
Phone: 828-743-5101
Fax: 828-743-4173