Manning, former Herald publisher, dies at 89

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Pete Manning, shown in this file photo, died Thursday at 89. Among his years of public service, he served on the Edenton Town Council, as president of the Edenton-Chowan Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Chowan County Board of Elections, a trustee for Chowan College, and as a member of the board of directors for The Biblical Recorder.


By Miles Layton
Chowan Herald

Saturday, February 23, 2019

EDENTON — Edward Nelson “Pete” Manning, 89, a former longtime publisher of the Chowan Herald, died at his home in Edenton on Thursday. He was 89.

For more than 50 years, Manning was Edenton’s newspaperman, doing everything from delivering papers, working as a linotype operator, serving as general manager and publisher. He was active in public affairs at both the local and state levels.

Former Chowan Herald publisher Bud Amburn, who worked closely with Manning for many years, said he had lost a dear friend. But things didn’t immediately start off well, he said.

“When I became editor/publisher in 1964, Pete was immediately bitter; he had been promised the opportunity of some day having an ownership position,” he said. “I assured him that I wasn’t made aware of such during my negotiations to purchase The Chowan Herald.”

Despite that initial hiccup, Amburn said he and Manning “immediately bonded.” For the next 20 years, there was never a harsh word between them, he said.

“His dedication to the craft was evident as he moved from Linotype operator to ultimately top man,” Amburn said. “We were always co-equals, never owner-employee.”

John Mitchener, a former county commissioner and former Edenton-Chowan Board of Education member, said he recalls Manning’s work for the paper when his own father, who also was named John, was mayor of Edenton in the 1960s.

“Pete's 'Chowan Herald' was welcoming, fair and accessible to anyone who reached out to him,” Mitchener said.

Mitchener whose family operated a pharmacy in Edenton for years, said losing his friend “hurts.”

“Pete brought out the best in others while retaining integrity,” Mitchener said. “In disagreement, I never knew him to be disagreeable. He was pleasantly assertive and articulate. His only fault is that he did not work at Mitchener's Pharmacy like his good mother Eva Manning did for years.”

Though Manning retired in 2002, he still kept abreast of affairs in Chowan County and his number was often one of the first reporters called after a major news event.

“You’ve got to want to do this kind of work — it can be hard let me tell you — but I enjoyed the work and serving the community,” Manning said in an interview less than a year ago.

Besides the time he gave to the Chowan Herald, Manning also gave a lot of time to his community. Besides once serving on Edenton Town Council, he also served as president of the Edenton-Chowan Chamber of Commerce, as chairman of the Chowan County Board of Elections, as a trustee for Chowan College, and as a member of the board of directors for The Biblical Recorder.

“When we met, Pete was a busy husband, father and Baptist layman,” Amburn said. “I remember him getting his 'community wings' when he was elected Edenton Chamber of Commerce president. Afterward, his achievements were legendary.”

Former Mayor John Dowd also recalled Manning's public service.

“During my tenure as mayor, I had the honor of serving with a number of councilmen and councilwomen all dedicated to making Edenton a better place to live,” Dowd said. “There was none better than Pete Manning. The citizens of Edenton could always count on Pete to be prepared and to make the right decision. He always wanted the best for the citizens of Edenton.”

Manning also was a charter member of the A.J. Fletcher Communications Center of the Baptist State Convention, served as a governor-appointee to the Edenton Historical Commission, and completed stints as both chairman and vice chairman of the Chowan Hospital Board of Trustees.

“Pete was a part of the long legacy of leaders that keep the community involved and informed through our beloved Chowan Herald,” Vaughan said. “His kindness and love for Edenton will never be forgotten.”

Manning also was an active member of Edenton Baptist Church, where he was a member of the deacon board for 50 years, serving many terms as chairman. He also served as chairman of the Building and Grounds Committee for more than 25 years, director of the Children's Sunday School Department for 32 years, and chairman of the Personnel Committee for several years. He also had chaired two pastor search committees.

“Pete was one of the most active and faithful members of Edenton Baptist Church,” said the Rev. David Brooks. “He was a great supporter of the pastors of our church over the years — including me. He always wanted to see pastors succeed, and he was always a great encourager.”

Brooks recalls when he was hired by the search committee that Manning chaired.

“In fact, my first contact with Edenton Baptist Church in January 2007 was a phone call from (him),” Brooks said. “Pete was respected for his wisdom, his love for the people of our church, his commitment to his family, his professionalism, and his faith in God. He has been a pillar of Edenton Baptist Church, and he will be missed tremendously.”

A reception celebrating Manning’s life will be held in the Edenton Baptist Church fellowship hall Saturday at 2 p.m. A private graveside funeral service will be held at Beaver Hill Cemetery.