May 24, 2021
Marianna Hane Carpenter (March 30, 1941-May 24, 2021) was born in Gaffney, South Carolina to Margaret Strawhorn Hane and James Tennent Hane, Sr.  A Fort Motte native and graduate of St. Matthews High School, she completed her degree from Columbia College in Columbia, SC in only three years. After teaching high school English for a year in Kershaw, she attended and received a Masters in Theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York City in 1965.

 What followed was a life of service: Marianna’s passionate advocacy helped develop and secure substantial funding for many programs she championed. She began her career as Director of Christian Education at St. James Episcopal Church in Wilmington, North Carolina. Beginning in 1967, she was instrumental in the implementation of Project Head Start in South Carolina and around the country, recruiting and training teachers and administrators for the launch of this important preschool program.

After marrying Morris Carpenter in 1971, Marianna worked as an administrator and grant writer for womens’ health organizations in both California and Maine. She relocated to Mississippi in 1981 and began a 28-year career with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. 

 Marianna, in her work with the Choctaws, made significant and lasting contributions to the education and health care of children and adults. Because of her versatility and skill set, she held multiple positions with the tribe during her tenure. Her first assignment was as the administrator of the Choctaw Follow Through Program, a model language development program for bilingual students in the tribal school system. She designed and implemented the first programs for very young children with special needs through Early Head Start, and for adults with special needs through an adult vocational rehabilitation program. She established a technical training program for employees of the tribe’s Ford and GM automotive manufacturing plants, and developed accredited adult vocational training programs in allied health care, business technology, and construction trades. She later became the administrator of the Choctaw Health Care system including the tribal hospital, dental and community medical clinics, Women’s Wellness Center, Diabetes Center, and women’s and children’s nutrition services. 

 Following her retirement at age 68, Marianna split her time between her homes in Philadelphia, Mississippi and Flat Rock, North Carolina. She was a committed liberal Democrat and canvassed door to door in North Carolina for Barack Obama in 2008. She held fast to her belief in making the world a better place for the underserved and underappreciated. 

She is survived by her brother,  James T. Hane, Jr. and sister, Jenny Hane. Witty, caring, generous, funny, endearing, and highly opinionated, Marianna was a beloved sister, cherished friend, and very special aunt to five nieces and nephews.

 There will be a celebration of her life in Flat Rock, North Carolina later in the summer. Memorials may be sent to a non-profit social service organization of your choice.

Condolences may be sent c/o Jenny Hane, 100 Village Greenway, Flat Rock,  North Carolina, 28731

In the photo: Marianna helping her sister, Jenny,  stir up a batch of the family’s famous “Mrs. Hane’s Artichoke Relish,” an annual tradition.