It’s the end of a era in sports journalism with the loss of Furman Bisher.
I grew up reading his column in the afternoon Journal, which I delivered in Athens, and always watched the Sunday football season TV show he hosted with other Atlanta sportswriters. The man who hired me straight out of college, Jim Minter, was one of the regulars on that show.
Years later, after starting out on the morning Constitution (as did Furman), I switched over to the afternoon cycle and spent quite a few years on the Journal, which was Furman’s newspaper home for so many decades. I once mentioned him to a friend in New Jersey, and my friend knew Bisher from his work in the Sporting News.
I didn’t work with Furman directly but always got a kick out of seeing him in the newsroom, usually grousing about something. One time he got on the elevator with me and was fussing and fuming about something. Then he looked up at me and winked. Like he was saying, “I have to keep up my image.”
My favorite Bisher memory, though, is when I spent a fun evening sitting next to him a few years ago at the AJC’s 25 Year Club banquet along with a few other old Journal staffers. Lots of amusing stories and although he was the evening’s featured speaker, he showed a refreshing irreverence.
I know some UGA fans thought he was overly fond of the school on North Avenue, but I never let that get in the way of my enjoyment of Bisher at his best … telling the tale behind the sporting event.
And even in retirement, he was still a holiday staple. Thanksgiving mornings won’t be the same without his “thankful” columns … which always managed to choke me up just a little.