Faculty, staff and students past and present at Northpoint Christian School are mourning the loss of former president and longtime Christian educator David Manley.
Manley died on Jan. 24 at his home in Southaven at age 63. He had been battling Parkinson Disease since retiring as Head of School in November 2017.
Manley served Northpoint Christian School (formerly Southern Baptist Education Center) for 39 years as a teacher, coach, principal and president.
“He was a pillar in the community,” said Northpoint Christian School president and Head of School Jim Ferguson. “He was a great man of faith, prayer and a student of the world.”
Ferguson said Manley was a well-respected leader in the field of Christian education who spent his life’s work building the school for almost four decades. Ferguson said that Manley trained him how to run a Christian school.
“He was my mentor and hero,” Ferguson said. “I was so blessed to have worked with him for about the last year-and-a-half. I came in to learn about Christian education after having spent 26 years in public schools. I learned a lot from him and what this school is all about.”
Manley was born July 17, 1957, in Union City, Tennessee, and according to his family, held the weight record of Obion County General Hospital as the biggest baby born there at 11 pounds and six ounces. He was a West Tennessee All-American High School football player during his junior and senior years at Hillcrest High School in Memphis.
Stephen Manley said his brother was offered many scholarships to prestigious universities like Wake Forest and Auburn University, and a full scholarship to the U.S. Naval Academy, but turned them down because he didn’t want to leave his sweetheart, Tonya Wisely, who he met in high school and was later married to for 43 years.
“This is one of those unwritten love stories that will forever rest only in the minds of those who interacted with and loved David,” Stephen wrote on his brother’s memorial tribute page. “He couldn’t stand the thought of being separated from her after he graduated from Hillcrest.”
The couple raised three sons: Nick, Josh and Kyle.
He said his brother was a selfless achiever who led by example and never asked for recognition for his many achievements.
“He was a simple man with a massive penchant for serving Jesus and everyone who ever came into contact with David,” he said.
Manley began his career with NCS (then called SBEC) in 1978 as an assistant football coach. He went on to be a teacher, coach, principal, headmaster and president. He retired from Northpoint Chrsitian School after 39 years but remained active as President Emeritus.
The school named the high school gym floor “Manley Court” in his honor on November 21, 2016. His legacy continues at Northpoint Christian School through the David H. Manley Golf Tournament and the David H. Manley Scholarship, which awards a $6,500 scholarship to a graduating senior of NCS.
Tim Lampley, former pastor of Broadway Baptist Church who worked with him until 2017, said Manley was committed to living out the scriptures and values of the school and inspired faculty, staff and thousands of students with his love of Christ, his family, and Broadway Baptist Church and SBEC/NCS.
“David lived and breathed SBEC/Northpoint,” Lampley said. “He loved that institution and served with such incredible integrity, vision and leadership. He used to say that as long as he was at the helm — and this vision continues under Mr. Ferguson — that Northpoint would be a uniquely Christian school. And it has and continues to be.”
Visitation will be held Saturday, Jan. 30, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the NCS gym on Manley Court. Funeral celebration will be Sunday, Jan. 31, at 1:30 p.m. at Broadway Baptist Church.