Around Town: Funeral was good excuse for some ‘three-dot journalism’
by Bill Kinney and Joe Kirby - Around Town Columnists
September 14, 2012 11:53 PM | 4071 views | 1 1 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LATE MDJ publisher Otis A. Brumby Jr. loved journalism, and was especially fond of “three-dot” journalism, i.e., columns with lots of names and brief, punchy items, separated by three dots (also known as an ellipsis).

“Names are news,” he liked to remind the newsroom.

Mr. Brumby was laid to rest this week after a nearly two-year fight with prostate cancer, and was remembered at a jam-packed funeral at First United Methodist Church of Marietta. So in his honor, we bring you a “three-dot column” about his funeral, loaded with names, names and more names, and lament only that he is not among us this morning to enjoy reading it. And apologies in advance to those who were there but whose names are not included below. It’s a big church. ...

 *** AS EXPECTED, the funeral attracted a “Who’s Who” of Cobb and Georgia figures. Among them were U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and wife Dianne, U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta), former Gov. Roy Barnes and wife Marie, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens and Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin in the sanctuary. Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee wound up seated in the “overflow” room watching on a big-screen TV as part of a crowd of 150 or so. ...

Others among the 1,100 or so in the sanctuary included University of Georgia President Dr. Michael Adams and retired UGA Coach Vince Dooley; Kennesaw State University President Dr. Dan Papp and retired KSU President Dr. Betty Siegel and husband Joel; Southern Polytechnic State University President Dr. Lisa Rossbacher; Marietta City Schools Superintendent Dr. Emily Lembeck and husband Harry. ...

 *** ALSO ON HAND were former Congressman Buddy Darden and wife Lillian of Marietta, Federal Judge Tom Thrash of Vinings, Georgia Supreme Court Justices Harris Hines of Marietta, Harold Melton and George Carley; retired Georgia Supreme Court Justice Conley Ingram; Cobb Superior Court Judges Greg Poole, Rueben Green, Lark Ingram, Tain Kell, Adele Grubbs and Rob Flournoy, and Cobb District Attorney Pat Head, Probate Judge Kelli Wolk and Clerk of Court-elect Rebecca Keaton. ...

Others included Lockheed VP and Site General Manager Shan Cooper, retired Lockheed VP Lee Rhyant, Georgia Public Service Commissioner Stan Wise of east Cobb, banker Kessel Stelling, Cobb County Manager David Hankerson, Cobb Commissioners Bob Ott and JoAnn Birrell, former Commissioner Joe Lee Thompson, Sheriff Neil Warren, Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood and Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon, Marietta City Councilmen Philip Goldstein, Johnny Sinclair and Anthony Coleman, former state Sen. Chuck Clay, City Police Chief Dan Flynn, state Reps. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) and David Wilkerson (D-Austell), state Sen. Judson Hill (R-east Cobb), Cobb NAACP head Deanne Bonner, Cobb Chamber of Commerce leaders Tony Britton and David Connell, and Cobb GOP Chair Joe Dendy and predecessor Scott Johnson.

 *** VIRTUALLY THE ENTIRE STAFF of the MDJ was in attendance, with the newspaper office having shut down for much of the day. The MDJ’s usually ink-stained press crew, headed by VP Production Joe Fernandez, came to work early that day in order to get the press prepared for later, then cleaned up, dressed “to the nines” and attended the funeral en masse.

Others included retired MDJ syndicated columnist Bill Shipp, Associate Editor Bill Kinney and son Dr. Bill Kinney Jr., Roswell Street Baptist Pastor Emeritus the Rev. Dr. Nelson Price and wife Trudy, columnist Dick Yarbrough and wife Jane, columnist Judy Elliott and husband Paul, columnist Don McKee, attorney Greg Litchfield and MDJ Lifestyle editor Sally Litchfield, MDJ VP of Operations Harris Kettles and Associate Publisher Jay Whorton.

Also present were Insider Advantage columnist Matt Towery, Atlanta newspaper figure Elliott Brack, former Larry Munson sidekick and broadcaster Loran Smith, Community Newspapers chain head Dink Nesmith, Georgia Press Association executive director Robin Rhodes, former MDJ VP & general manager Terry Smith and Georgia Trend publisher Neely Young, who got his start with the MDJ many moons ago. ...

 *** THE COBB SCHOOL BOARD took a two-hour break in its work session on Wednesday to allow those members who so chose to attend the funeral. Among those spotted in the crowd were Chairman Scott Sweeney, former Chair Alison Bartlett and Kathleen Angelucci. Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa was among those watching in the “overflow” room. Cobb schools communication chief Jay Dillon was also an attendee, as were board-watcher Wanda Becker and former board Chairman Dr. Teresa Plenge. Standing in for former board member Lindsey Tippins was son Nathan Tippins.

Elsewhere in the crowd were retired First Marietta UMC Assistant Pastor the Rev. Sam Storey, former Marietta UMC Pastor Dr. Charles Sineath, retired INVESCO North America CEO and Carter Center Board member Hubert “Herky” Harris, Marietta City Attorney Doug Haynie, retired Caraustar exec and fundraiser extraordinaire Bob Prillaman, Cobb EMC suit co-plaintiff Butch Thompson and son Jud, banker Joe Daniell and Strand Theatre impresario Earl Reece.

Others were Brumby’s former law school roommates Eddie Garland and James Blanchard and such longtime friends as Bill Smith Sr., and Hap McNeel, who told Around Town afterward that he had just completed his final chemo treatment for the pancreatic cancer he is fighting. ...

 *** LOCAL ADVERTISING exec Henry Hine afterward pointed out in an email to AT that the eulogies were spot-on but would have been even better had they mentioned “all the opportunities Otis Jr. gave to so many young advertising and journalism students. Otis helped shape Atlanta’s ad and journalism community.”

Indeed he did, as evidenced by the number of MDJ alums at the service, from recently departed reporter Katie Ruth Camp, through former chief photog Damien Guarnieri and reporter Stephanie Sonnenfeld Stinn (both now at Lockheed) to long-ago Neighbor Managing Editor Bill Reynolds, now in his seventh year of a battle with lung cancer. A quarter-century ago he hired a young reporter who on Friday penned the column you are now reading. ...

Filling several aisles reserved for Brumby’s fellow Marietta Kiwanians were the likes of Lamar Cheatham, Ed Hammock, Kee Carlisle, Scott Chadwick, Johnny Walker, Bobby Tharpe, Matt Flournoy, Robert Westbrook, Charlie and Marcia Crowder, Dan Buyers, Devan Seabaugh, Alice Summerour, Nathan Wade, Carole Morgan, Dr. Felton Hagood and the Marietta Housing Authority’s Ray Buday and Liz Cole. ...

 *** AMONG THOSE SERVING as ushers were attorney John Salter and MDJ sales rep Tara Guest. Guest noted afterward that she went down front to tell Lt. Gov. Cagle he’d have to “slide over” to make room for UGA’s legendary Coach Dooley.

“I was afraid that Otis would fire me from the grave if he found out I’d made Vince Dooley sit in the back!” she quipped. ...

 *** MR. BRUMBY was eulogized by his son, new MDJ publisher Otis A. Brumby III, who got a laugh by noting that as the youngest of his parents’ five children and the only boy, “I was easy, but raising four girls took a team effort.” On a more serious note, he recalled that after his father’s cancer was diagnosed, doctors told him to get his affairs in order and encouraged him to “visit Portofino or the South of France while he still had some time left. My father looked at me and said, ‘I’ve been to both of those places, and besides, there’s no place in the world I’d rather be than Lake Allatoona or the Georgia Coast or Cobb County. ‘O,’ let’s get back to work.’ ...

Pastor Sam Matthews in his eulogy referred to Ben Bradlee, the Watergate-era editor of The Washington Post.

“He wrote that the key to a great newspaper was a great owner. Period. Great owners bring to the table a love for news, a love for answers, and a love for a piece of the action. That was Otis Brumby,” he said. ...

 *** OTIS BRUMBY JR. leaves big shoes behind to fill, but “Around Town” is looking forward to doing its part to continuing that love for the news, love for answers and love for a “piece of the action.”
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Will Miss Mr. Brumby
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September 15, 2012
We owe him a lot for providing a forum for us in the general public to express our opinions. Thank you, Mr. Brumby.
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