FORT MYERS, Fla. - A familiar face is missing from an annual southwest Florida tradition. Every year, Barbara B. Mann sat in the front of First Presbyterian Church in Fort Myers during the Holiday Carol Sing.
The church was Mrs. Mann's home church, and even people who only met her once tell WINK News she left a lasting impression.
"Barbara is going to be here. She's going to here in her spirit. Barbara Mann was an inspiration to me since I was a little boy, watching her play the organ in this church. And knowing her my whole life. Sam Galloway, Jr. will never forget Barbara B. Mann's influence on his life or her tenacious tendencies.
"She had a way of telling you to jump off a cliff. And you'd smile. And jump. She was wonderful!"
He spoke specially about Mrs. Mann at the beginning of First Presbyterian's Holiday Carol Sing.
For 23 years people have donated canned food and money to CCMI to help feed the hungry. And for 22 of those years Mrs. Mann sat at the front of the church. "She's been at the heart of music in this entire community and this has been her home church for decades," said Reverend Paul deJong.
"I even sat by her one year, and she was so wonderful. I said, 'I'm so honored to sit by you.' And she said, 'oh don't be silly!' She was so cute," said church visitor Shirley Russell.
"I felt that coming here would be a way to honor her," said church visitor Mimi Wardwell.
"She would love it. She loved the crowd. She loved the people. I've watched her for 60 years. And she absolutely has been an inspiration to everybody," said Galloway. "Barbara is going to be missed."
A memorial service for Barbara B. Mann will be held at 2pm this coming Saturday at First Presbyterian Church. The public is invited to attend.