Charles Thomas "Tommy" Mansfield, age 86, passed away peacefully at the home of his youngest son, Jeremy Mansfield, surrounded by family on Thursday, December 16, 2021. Strong hands that once lifted his children and family released their grip from this world, grabbing onto the hands of Jesus and the Angels who escorted him to his heavenly home where he was reunited with loved ones who have gone before him. He is preceded in death by his parents Dennis Elmo Mansfield and Iris Broxson Mansfield, and daughter Melissa Grayce Mansfield Culross.
Born in 1935 Depression Era Albany, Georgia, the son of a Railroad Engineer and WWI Navy Veteran, Tommy was affectionately nicknamed "Pot Likker" by friends and family due to his affinity for drinking the juice at the bottom of a pot of turnip greens. Pot Likker is the depression-era version of the Italian wedding soup and a fine meal in the lean times of which he grew up.
As a young boy, Tommy was passionate about hunting, trapping, fishing, and especially animals. His love for animals was so great that he even carried around a flying squirrel in his pocket as his pet. He once gave safe harbor to a baby Raccoon, raising it and keeping it stowed away in his bedroom for a while unbeknownst to his mother. When an Aunt came to visit and stay in Tommy's room, the Raccoon reached out and grabbed her ankle, and about "gave her a heart attack."
Excelling in athletics, Tommy was an All-Star Varsity player in football (Guard) and Baseball (Right Field) for Albany High. After being picked to play in the 1953 All-State Georgia football game, Tommy was recruited to play football for Georgia Tech at historic Grant Field under legendary SEC and 1952 National Championship winning coach Bobby Dodd.
After graduating from Georgia Tech with a degree in Industrial Management, Tommy married his high-school sweetheart, Linda Plummer, at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, GA, on March 17, 1957. Instead of immediately entering the workforce, he joined the Army. He served Active Duty from 1957-1959 and then went into the Army Reserves from 1959-1963 before being honorably discharged as a Corporal.
As many knew, Tommy was a tight-lipped man of few words. So much so that the U.S. Army decided he was perfectly fit for a job as a Cryptographer/Teletypist in the Army Signal Corps. After the FBI and Secret Service interviewed friends and family in his hometown, the Army sent him to the USA Signal School at Fort Gordon, GA. Tommy was then re-assigned to Arlington, VA, to work in the White House under the Eisenhower Administration. Sitting one floor directly under the President, Tommy was the first to receive communique that Queen Elizabeth was pregnant with Prince Charles before the public was aware. His job at the White House frequently required him to "commute" to Camp David for the day on a helicopter. He even traveled with Eisenhower to The Masters at Augusta as a part of his communications responsibilities.
After leaving the Army, Tommy and his family moved to Kinston, NC, to work for DuPont as a manufacturing supervisor before transferring to Hendersonville, TN. He spent 25 years working for DuPont ReMay in Old Hickory. Retiring from DuPont, Tommy worked another decade for the Federal Government overseeing quality inspections for military textile contracts.
Tommy utilized his industrial engineering background in his leisure time, teaching himself to tackle projects such as building a three-car garage with an upstairs apartment and reupholstering furniture. Inspired by his love for his 1930 Model A Ford Truck of his youth, he was always tinkering on cars and rebuilding engines. Tommy also enjoyed gardening with his daughter Teri, feeding their chickens, reading, and talking on the C.B. Radio. He enjoyed the solitude and peace of nature and appreciated time with his children and grandchildren.
He is survived by his wife Linda Plummer Mansfield; children Charles "Chuck" Thomas Mansfield Jr, Gina Terese "Teri" Mansfield, Jeremy Stephen Mansfield (Tiffany); grandchildren Sydney Wilson Tomlin (Ryan), Ryan and Cameron Culross, Micah, McKenna, and Mary Grayce Mansfield; brother Dennis Lamar Mansfield; niece Rebecca Mansfield.
Visitation will take place on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, at the Austin & Bell Funeral Home in Hendersonville, TN, from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm. The Funeral will immediately follow in the Austin & Bell Funeral Home Chapel at 1:00 pm. Burial will take place at Beech Cemetery with military honors.
In place of flowers, donations may be made to Meals On Wheels located at Community Church 381 W Main St, Hendersonville, TN 37075.