Much like the traditional “gathering of the clans,” the funeral last week for Otis Brumby Jr. was a gathering of this community and state’s best and brightest that was extraordinary as it was unique.
Yes, Otis was a larger than life newspaper publisher of the Marietta Daily Journal and Neighborhood Newspapers. He could, at times, write editorials in the tradition of William Randolph Hearst, and they could draw blood. Likewise, he was an uncompromising warrior on behalf of open government and open records. In an interview, he demanded the truth, and woe to the individual who tried to mislead Otis or obfuscate. He would always tolerate disagreement, but never dishonesty or intentionally misleading conduct.
That, however, is not why Georgians came from near and far to honor Otis Brumby. They did so out of friendship, respect and love. What many did not know is the number of people Otis called friends. These friends came from high and low, and included a veritable “who’s who” of Marietta, Cobb and even from around the state of Georgia.
Equally importantly to Otis, it also included the hardworking staff who put the newspapers together and got them delivered every day. Otis loved his family. He and Martha Lee were inseparable, and Martha Lee, as always, was the dignified matriarch of the “clan” during this difficult time. Their five children with their extended families; the Gregorys, Tarbuttons and Garretts, were all there for support, and the family could not be closer.
Otis III provided extraordinary and loving remarks about his father, while the Rev. Sam Matthews of Otis’ beloved Marietta First United Methodist Church was at his best.
For several hours, the community was together as one, united in showing their respect for Otis Brumby. We all swapped Otis stories and laughed as we remembered. The group truly represented the best and brightest that Cobb, and even Georgia, has to offer, because these are the people who make the community a better place to live and work. Otis gave as much to this effort as anyone ever has. One could not help but feel proud to be a part of this assemblage. I do not know when we will see the likes of it again. Otis, you would have been proud.