Union’s Manning Jeter: Daughter’s Little Light Lives On

Union County Schools Board of Trustees chair Manning Jeter (right) with his wife, Maretta, hold a portrait of their late daughter, Marisha. Their son, T.J., is with them.
Union County Schools Board of Trustees chair Manning Jeter (right) with his wife, Maretta, hold a portrait of their late daughter, Marisha. Their son, T.J., is with them.

Marisha, the daughter of Manning Jeter, Union County Schools Board of Trustees chair, would have turned 33 years old this week (April 29, 2024). The anniversary of her birth serves as a reminder of the tragedy of her death and the light of it, as 16 young ladies have been recipients of the Marisha Sharay Jeter Scholarship established in her honor.

Ironically enough, at the age of 16, Marisha’s life ended and, almost immediately, her parents (Manning and Maretta) set out to establish a fund to help secure the future of teens like their daughter – on track to becoming.

Marisha was not only scholarly at school, but she was also a cheerleader, served on the marching band, the yearbook staff, the Winter Guard and was a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club and Quill and Scroll Society. At church, she served as a junior usher, secretary of her Sunday School class and sang in the youth choir, leading her first solo, “This Little Light of Mine”, at the age of two. The memory of her voice and her love of school and life in general, along with the establishment of the scholarship have provided some consolation to the family, according to Manning.

“We wanted to do something to help young ladies who were good in school,” said Manning. “Marisha loved school, and she was very high in academics and ran at her own pace. This was a way to try to keep her name alive as well as help other young ladies like her every year.”

The recipients of the scholarship have gone on to become doctors, teachers, pharmacists, nurses and more. In fact, most of them have become family, even assisting Maretta through her recent bout with cancer. Since their daughter’s death, both Manning and Maretta have battled cancer without missing one fundraising event regarding the scholarship, said Manning, who beat cancer in 2018.

The weight of the tragedies has rightly informed Manning’s 24 years of service on the school board.
“(People have) no clue what it does to me when I feel like a child is not getting what they need to be successful,” he said.

The family is full of educators, with Maretta owning a childcare center prior to Marisha’s death and their son T.J. currently working as a behavior and reading interventionist. The couple have two other older children – Andre’ and Rahim.

Rahim and his father run Jeter’s Collision Repair, a shop Manning began operating in the early ‘80s and maintained while working as a senior claims adjuster for Allstate from 2000 to 2016. As a businessperson, Manning had the flexibility to travel the world as a professional musician, performing with such greats as Dazz, Con Funk Shun, The Soul Children, Mandrill, Brick, Mother’s Finest, Toy Factory, Tyrone Davis, Zapp, Marshall Tucker and other bands.

“I’m a percussionist and lead vocalist,” said Manning. “I’m the one that taught my children.”

Marisha and T.J. followed in Manning’s footsteps with a love of music. Today, T.J. sings and plays lead guitar, piano and drums throughout the nation, in honor of his sister’s life and light.