Around Town: Isakson praises late MDJ publisher in Senate
by Bill Kinney and Joe Kirby
Around Town Columnists
September 11, 2012 12:40 AM | 5089 views | 1 1 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
U.S. SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON (R-Ga.) took to the Senate floor Monday afternoon to deliver a tribute to late MDJ publisher Otis Brumby Jr., who passed away on Saturday from the ravages of prostate cancer.

Pointing to an obituary that ran in the Marietta Daily Journal on Sunday, Isakson asked that it be part of the record.

“I could read all of those accomplishments if I wanted to. But you know there are times we’re called on to offer eulogies on the floor of the senate because we have to. There are times we do it because it’s appropriate. There are times we do it for great past leaders of our state. On rare occasions, such as the one I have today, we do it for someone for which we have tremendous respect, love and compassion.”

Isakson said he plans to return to Marietta on Wednesday and participate in the memorial service for Brumby. …

“Otis Brumby Jr. got his start in some ways on the floor of the United States Senate because in the late 1950s his father arranged for him to page for Richard B. Russell, who as all of us know was really the master of the Senate for Lyndon Johnson when he was leader, later vice president and finally president.

“Otis Brumby learned a lot in this chamber and on this floor, and he’s told me a lot about what it was like before the cameras were here back in the good old days when there was camaraderie and friendship amongst senators and members of the senate. He also told me about the difficult days of the Civil Rights era and particularly as a son of the south what it meant to him. …

“Otis Brumby Jr. died last week of prostate cancer and the effects of prostate cancer. He suffered for two years and that’s been a tragedy. But the tragedy for all of us is that he’s gone because he’s left a mark on our county and state and community that just can’t be easily replaced. …

“To Marietta, Georgia, Otis Brumby was just about everything. He was its conscience. He was its benefactor. He was its leader and from time to time he was its protagonist where he would promote discord and a lack of harmony in order to come up with a right decision. I can tell you as a politician when he wrote about you and you heard you were in the paper the first thing you did was grab the newspaper. In fact there was a column he wrote called Around Town that appeared every Saturday in the newspaper . . . it was a one-page discourse on what politicians in the county were up to. And on Saturday morning every politician in Marietta, Georgia and Cobb County, Georgia went to their mailbox and got their Marietta Daily Journal because they didn’t want to see what the football score was. They wanted to see what Otis Brumby had said about them from the previous week.

“He was the conscience of all the politicians in the community. He was the leader of the community. He was the benefactor of the community. He made it a much, much better place.

“Otis was not a Republican. Nor was he a Democrat. He was if anything a populist but he had a fiscally conservative bent to him. And unlike a lot who comment on politics, Otis put his money where his mouth was. He wrote checks to local politicians and to people in the United States Senate. There wasn’t a party bent to him but there was always a fiscally conservative bent. …

“Sure he would knock me down from time to time and some of those times I quite well deserved it, but he gave us a chance, he gave everybody a chance, he was one of those journalists who would comment on what you did, but he gave you the strength to do what’s right.

“Wednesday morning I’m going to the funeral of a dear friend. I miss him already and will miss him as the days go by. I love he and his family and all they’ve done for me, all they’ve done for my community and all they’ve done for my country.

“So as one of those rare times when we come to the floor to eulogize, this time for me it’s personal. For this time for America we’ve lost a son, we’ve a lost a journalist, we’ve lost a patriot and I’ve lost a best friend. May God bless Otis Brumby and his family, his grandchildren and our community. I yield back my time.”


CHAIRMAN Tony Britton recognized Brumby’s passing during the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s First Monday Breakfast at the Cobb Galleria Centre. Brumby was a former member of the Chamber’s Executive Committee, though the newspaper’s editorial policy had often been at odds with the Chamber through the years.

“I’d like to take just a moment to recognize an individual that we’ve lost over the weekend,” Britton told the audience. “A great representative of our community, a great believer in business and in Cobb County, and that’s Otis Brumby Jr. We were saddened by the news that we will not have Otis Brumby Jr. in our community any longer. He will be missed so much, and Cobb will never be the same.

The Chamber’s keynote speaker, Edward Crowell, chairman of the Cobb EMC Board, opened his remarks by saying, “There are few people who become legends in their own time and fewer still that live up to it, and Mr. Brumby will be missed. It’s a real privilege to have met him and to have spent some time with him.”


BRUMBY’S PASSING was also mentioned by Cobb Board of Commissioners Chairman Tim Lee as he began Monday’s Board of Commissioners work session.

“I don’t know how it’s possible, but for anyone that hasn’t heard, Otis Brumby passed away over the weekend,” Lee said. “So if you would keep his family in our prayers and thoughts as we go forward this week, because he had a long two-year battle that finally just consumed him with cancer.”


TONY AWARD-winning actor Shuler Hensley of Marietta has been named as “Artist in Residence” at Kennesaw State University. He’ll be teaching workshops at KSU and serving as “an interactive tool” for students and professors.

First up will be a live interview via Skype between KSU College of the Arts students and legendary Broadway director and producer Hal Prince on Friday.

Hensley, who has been cast by Prince in the “Prince of Broadway,” a musical tribute currently under development, recently starred in “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.” The Southern gothic musical by John Mellencamp and Stephen King debuted in April at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre. Hensley will start work on a film next spring here in Georgia. And in April he’ll host the fifth annual Shuler Hensley Awards at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

Hensley is the son of west Cobb’s Sam and the late Iris Hensley, founder of what is now The Georgia Ballet. He won a 2002 Tony Award for his portrayal of Jud Fry in the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Oklahoma!” on Broadway.


GOV. NATHAN DEAL will be among the speakers at the kickoff of Cobb2020 Partnership’s Health Improvement initiative, “The Weight is Over ... A Healthier Cobb Starts NOW!” on Oct. 11 at the Earl Smith Strand Theatre. The Cobb2020 Partnership is a collaboration of community organizations and individuals committed to promoting healthy lifestyles and delivering essential health services in Cobb. Cobb Schools communications chief Jay Dillon is serving as its Steering Committee chair. Local comedian Scott Davis will kick off the event with his weight-loss testimonial followed by a brief highlight of HBO’s “Weight of the Nation,” a national series confronting America’s obesity epidemic.


DEMOCRAT Jeff Kazanow, who’s challenging U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell, east Cobb) this November, has challenged the incumbent to a series of three debates.

Kazanow on Monday proposed one debate each in east Cobb, north DeKalb and north Fulton. A fourth debate is already scheduled by the Atlanta Press Club.

“I believe the people of the Sixth Congressional District deserve to hear the very different visions that Tom Price and I present, and I believe the best way to accomplish this is through a series of debates and forums,” said Kazanow.

“I sincerely hope that Representative Price will join me in this important aspect of the democratic process.”


REPUBLICAN School Board Candidate Brad Wheeler, who will compete against Democratic incumbent Alison Bartlett for the west-central Cobb seat in November, is hosting a fundraiser at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Amberton Subdivision Clubhouse 4905 Amberton Drive in Powder Springs.


SICK BAY: State Sen. Steve Thompson (D-Austell) is slated for knee-replacement surgery on Wednesday.
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September 13, 2012
Bet you didn't know that September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. The same month Otis Brumby died of the disease. What a fitting tribute it would be to him to have the MDJ spread the word about this special month and encouraging men to get the simple PSA test for prostate cancer. I think Otis would like that instead of all the other nice tributes.
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