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Good Knight Raymond Mann
by Kelly d. Whittaker

Back in 1990 I met an older gentleman by the name of Raymond Mann.  I had just moved to Tyrone, Ok and had not made any friends.  Mr. Mann saw my mother, sister and I at the Library researching our Scottish ancestry.  He stopped me one day at the local coffee shop and began asking me who my ancestors were.

Raymond was from the old family of Tyrone, Texas county, Oklahoma.  They had been there since 1890.  He was in his 70's and sharp as a tack.  Mr. Mann was also the head of the Mason lodge in Tyrone.  We would sit for a few hours over a cup of coffee discussing my great grandfathers.

Everyday I visited with Mr. Mann.  We would talk about anything and everything.   I soon became attached to this wonderful older gentleman. He was very active in the comminity.  Raymond always had time to help the school or church out.  We attended the same church.  He was an Elder of the Church.

Several ladies from the community wanted to charter a chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.  I was very interested for all of my scottish ancestors were from the South.  I had 8 great grandfathers who were Confederate Veterans.  I went to Mr. Mann and told him what we were doing.  We needed a place to hold our Chartering Dinner or High Tea.  Right away he gave me permission to hold the High Tea at the Mason Lodge.  The morning of the very special occassion, Raymond met me at the Lodge to give me the key to get in.  He had made a special trip there just to make sure it was nice and clean.  He even got out the best china the lodge had for us to use.

The State of Oklahoma let the Tyrone School district know that they would be shut down and consolidated with the Hooker schools if Tyrone did not build a new larger library that had the satilite classroom availability.  Right away, I dived head in!  Mr. Mann found out what I was doing.  He came to my front porch and informed me if I needed any help just to give him a call.  The Mayor of Tyrone had met with a group of us citizens about the State ruling.  He told us we may use the old City Cafe building if we could get the funding.  A group of eight including Mr. Mann and myself went on the quest to get funding for the library.

While the quest was on to save the school, the Masons wanted to build a baseball field for the Little League.  Mr. Mann asked me to take the pictures and write the story for the local newspapers.  Without hesitation I did exactly what Raymond asked of me.

This lead to me becoming the Tyrone Correspondant for the newspapers. Mr. Mann told me I was a good writer and needed that exposier.  He always believed in my abilities.   The Baseball Field was built and there was a terrific front page story on all three newspapers that I submitted the story to.  The progress of the Library was much slower than anyone had imagined.  I was getting very frustrated.  Mr. Mann knew I was getting discouraged so he kept my spirits up by having me tell him about my great grandfathers.  he knew that was my one true passion.

The town desided to build a brand new library.  It was complete in the autumn of 1995.  I had moved away from Tyrone because of the job situation but Mr. Mann found a way to let me know that my work was not in vane.

I came to Tyrone to visit my brother, I went to the new Library as soon as it was day break.  Mr. Mann came driving by.  He realized it was me and stopped to talk.   Mr. Mann said,"Here it is and all because you had the fighting spirit of your great grandfathers."  Tears ran down my cheeks as I stood there smiling at the new building.  I looked at his big smile and told him, "Yeah, but YOU kept me going."

Raymond Mann passed away in September 1998.  He was a Knight Templar. My sister-in-law called me as soon as she heard the news.  She knew I was attached to Mr. Mann.  I cried when she told me.  He was 87. Raymond was one of the nicest, kindest men I had the honor to meet.

I believe that the Scottish Rite that Mr. Mann practiced was very evident in his treatment of me.  He had found out 9 years ago that my great grandfathers were jacobites who were bannished to the Colonies after Culledon.  I guess one might call our relatioship a Scottish thing!

Now, I want to say Good Knight Raymond Mann, you will always be in my heart!

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