Lois Caryl Mance was born on May 26, 1942, to parents Henry T. and Millie T. Mance. Lois was affectionately given the nickname, “Lolly,” by family and friends. When asked how she acquired the nickname she would just say, because she was sweet as a “Lolly Pop”! Lolly was the youngest of six girls.Georgiana, Frances, Barbara Jean (Barbara Jean died as an infant). Jane WooWoo, and Patsy.
Lolly attended Whittier Elementary, Cole Junior High and Manual High School. Growing up in Northeast Denver was exciting and stimulating for Lolly. Especially, on either side of the blocks of Williams Street, from 20th Ave to 28th. Lolly and her childhood girlfriends created a group called the whistlettes. The whistlettes consisted of the following; LaDonna Black (deceased) Virgina McKinney (deceased) Peaches Taylor, Audrey Rice, Sarah Patton, Sharon Chambers, Patty Sherman, Dorles Smith and Emma Moore. Of course, they made their own special whistle call that each knew. During these teenage years the whistlettes would dress alike, attend football games together, party at the canteen on friday nights, and then head to Sherman’s Creamery to hang out with all of their friends in the neighborhood.
Lolly attended Pueblo Junior College, now called Colorado State University-Pueblo where she received her AA degree and met her lifetime friends Pat Gatewood and Barbara Beaty. Lolly's first marriage was to Robert L. Johnson, Jr; out of this union, her son, Jason Deland Johnson, was born. Lolly was lucky enough to have a wonderful mother-in-law who watched Jason so Lolly was able to continue her education attending the University of Denver, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Education. With this degree, she secured a teaching position with Denver Public Schools. Her first assignment was at Park Hill Elementary. Maintaining her pursuit of education she sought a Masters in Economics with an emphasis on Curriculum Development and was accepted into a Fellowship program at the University of Colorado/Boulder. Lolly and Jason moved to Boulder and lived in Quonset housing with other students from all over the U.S. Jason had the opportunity to watch the CU football team practice on a daily basis right outside the dorm door. After securing her Master’s degree, she continued between CU Boulder and the University of Denver to attain her Administrative Certification to become a school principal.
Nine years later, her daughter, Ayana LaRon White was born from the union to Ronnie Wayne White. She referred to her children as the sunshine in her life. Being a successful single parent, making sure her children were involved in every pastime growing up and working two jobs to make this happen.
Lolly was a Civil Rights activist, and was prominent in civic activities in the Aurora area in the early 70’s and throughout her life. As part of this activism, she ran for a seat as a member of the Aurora Board of Education, and was only 60 votes shy of victory.
Lolly was a girl scout leader with a troop of nine girls. During the cookie campaign she had over 900 boxes of cookies sent to her house to be sold.
Lolly moved around to various schools within Denver and Aurora Public Schools. She eventually became an assistant principal, however; her heart's desire, goal and mission was to become a school principal. Unfortunately, it was not in Denver Public School or the Aurora Public Schools. A childhood friend invited her to visit Alaska. Once there she encouraged Lolly to apply for a principal through a Job Fair held in Fairbanks, AK. It was like “truth or dare” for her. Lolly did go to the Job Fair and had a great time, people were there from all over the USA. Lolly was offered a principalship in Kodiak and Nome. Stepping out on faith, she selected Nome. The School Board sent her a plane ticket to fly there for the interview. Back in Colorado, her family and friends were in major shock and disbelief that she was on her way to ALASKA! Lolly felt Nome was the best experience in her professional career. Nome is best known for being the end of the Iditorod (dog sledding/mushing) Trail. Lolly loved the small town, the people, the children, and everything related to this magnificent assignment. After six wonderful years as Principal of Nome Elementary School, she had an opportunity to become principal at an Elementary School in Anchorage, ALASKA. So, she packed up and moved to Anchorage where she ended her career at Fairview Elementary School.
After 12 years in the “Last Frontier” state of wonderful Alaska, Lolly returned to Colorado in 2005. Here, she first worked at Great Lakes Airlines as a ticket agent until Fall of 2008 when she thought she twisted her back handling heavy baggage. She went to the doctor to get checked out. She discovered after lab work that she had a blood disease called Multiple Myeloma. Lolly went on to have a stem cell transplant, which was vital to her recovery, in addition to extensive chemotherapy. The side effect of these treatments is Peripheral Neuropathy, which has seriously damaged the nerve endings in her hands and feet. Throughout her illnesses, she had fantastic friends who were there to support her during her darkest days. Thus, the Circle of Friends was created. The Circle of Friends would gather each year in support of Leukemia/Lymphoma Society’s “Light the Night” walk. The fundraising events held at the home of Pat and Donnie Gatewood were successful and always well attended. Lolly would say, “Without this support, I probably would have given up the fight and desire to battle through the pain..” Despite all of this Lolly continued to work as a substitute teacher at several Denver elementary schools, teaching mostly 3rd and 5th Graders. Later, she took courses in Adult Literacy, which enabled her to teach GED classes at Aurora Community College and the Denver Jail.
Lolly was an avid Broncos fan, she worked at Mile High Stadium. For several years, during home games, she worked at the Concierge Desk, at Mile High Stadium. When she was not working at the game, she would watch football each Sunday faithfully. Oftentimes, during halftime she would call her nephew Pierre and longtime friend Jimmy Roundtree to talk football.
Lolly was a lifetime member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, a member of the Denver Alumnae Chapter, and a Delta Dear. Lolly began Delteens, a youth group for not only her daughter, but other youth within the community. They met monthly in her basement.
She grew up in Shorter AME Church where at the ripe age of 5yo she was in the First Junior Jubilee Ambassadors. Lolly was a staunch member of Shorter throughout her life. She was a Sunday School and Children's Church teacher at Shorter. Lolly loved Shorter church, she helped Reverend Carter in the search for a new location for Shorter AME Church. Also, she was asked by Rev. J. Langston Boyd to help establish the New Tabernacle Usher Board, which is still an active Usher Board at the Church today. She sang in the choir and assisted with a myriad of church programs. She involved Ayana in the Youth People’s Department (YPD) and the New Revelation Wonders youth choir. Her unwavering faith and personal relationship with God was a great source of strength especially during her transition.
Lolly fought Multiple Myeloma up until her last breath with grace and courage. She succumbed to this disease on Saturday, January 1st, 2022 at 7:48am EST. in Maryland with Ayana, Monique by her side and Jason on Facetime.
Lolly was preceded in death by her parents Henry T and Millie T Mance, and her sisters Georgianna Ann Myers, Frances Elaine Burt, Jane “Woo Woo” Elizabeth Hutchinson, Barbara Jean Mance, and Patricia “Patsy” Ruth Sampson. She leaves behind precious memories with her children, son Jason Deland Johnson and daughter Ayana LaRon White-Tompkins (Monique), granddaughters, Jordan Daniels (Tavion), Makenzie Lois, Zoey Bruhlee, and Rita Alyeska, her granddog’s Prince-e-Pooh and Zorah. Her great grandchildren, Tzion and Zamya. Her nieces and nephews Marcellus Jr. (deceased) (Pat), Georgianna Marie Hill (deceased), Marye Grace White, Edward Henry Bryant, Mikelle Angela Mataya (Tony), Cherry Ann Hill, Charles Andre Reynolds Sr. (deceased) Denise Gilliespie (William), Darwin Pierre Reynolds, Alicia Washington (Eddie), Bruce Hutchinson (deceased), DeMarco Sampson (Karen), Derek Sampson (Marlene), and Daphne Sampson (deceased) and numerous great-nieces great-nephews, cousins, and lifelong friends, former teachers in Nome and Anchorage, Alaska. She also leaves behind devoted friends, Pat Gatewood, Peaches Taylor, and Sharon Knox, and a myriad of countless dear friends too many to name. Special thanks to Pat, her BFF since college for supporting Lolly by taking her to appointments and treatments in the rain, sleet, or snow, she always knew she could count on Pat.
Lolly, Rest In Peace.
Jason, Ayana and all your loved ones will miss you greatly. We bid you farewell, for now.
In Lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to https://www.gofundme.com/f/tribute-for-lois-caryl-mance