Ex-AP correspondent dies of cancer at age 71

Elliott Minor smiles as he sits at his desk in the newsroom at The Albany Herald. The retired Associated Press correspondent died Thursday of complications of cancer.

Elliott Minor smiles as he sits at his desk in the newsroom at The Albany Herald. The retired Associated Press correspondent died Thursday of complications of cancer.

ALBANY — Journalist Elliott Minor, an Associated Press correspondent who was based in Albany from the early 1980s until his retirement in 2007, has died.

Family members said Minor died Thursday at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital of complications of cancer.

Minor began his career with the news cooperative in Philadelphia in 1973, but transferred to the Atlanta AP bureau in May 1984. He was based in Albany and worked out of The Albany Herald newsroom.

“It’s like attending a new college course every day,” Minor said in an April 2007 interview with The Herald just before he retired. “One day it’s peanut farming and the next day it’s taxidermy. ... It just opens up so many vistas on subjects.

“You can start the day covering something you know nothing about and then, by the end of he day, you write 400-500 words about it and write with some authority. That’s really amazing.”

Minor, who loved computers and high-tech gadgets, covered a wide range of news stories, but agriculture was his forte. He also was widely known for covering more than a dozen executions in Georgia during his career with the AP, including the last 12 Georgia conducted by electrocution and its first by lethal injection. One of his most read stories was the 2004 tale of the monster hog dubbed “Hogzilla.”

“Elliott Minor was a top-notch journalist and a pleasure to be around, and may have been one of the most versatile I ever met,” said Jim Hendricks, editor of The Herald. “He was just as at home discussing drought with a farmer in a withering field as he was discussing farm trade legislation with a lawmaker.”

“He was unmistakable on many assignments, with his beard, Panama hat and gadget vest. And he always knew the right questions to ask and how to present that information in a way that made it useful to a wide range or readers.”

“He spent a great deal of his career here in south Georgia, sharing stories about our region with the rest of the world through The Associated Press wire service. He was an excellent reporter and a fine person.”

Born into a military family, Minor also served 22 years combined in the national Guard and in active service. When he left active duty, Minor joined the staff of the National Rifle Association, where he was a museum curator and writer until joining the AP.

Minor earned his journalism degree from the University of Maryland and joined the Philadelphia AP Bureau in 1973.

In addition to his feature and agricultural writing, Minor was AP’s eyes and ears on spot news events in Southwest Georgia.

But agricultural coverage was his specialty, and it endeared him to farmers and executives alike.

Don Koehler, executive director of the Georgia Peanut Commission based in Tifton, commented on Minor at his retirement.

“The quality that made Elliott most special to me and led to our friendship was his heartfelt desire to understand the challenges farmers face every day,” Koehler said.

“He sensed the importance of an occupation that feeds, clothes and houses the people of the world.”

Following his retirement, Minor continued to do some writing, but devoted much of his time to traveling before being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Minor continued to live in Albany with his wife, Hildegard, following his retirement. They had three sons and one daughter.

Visitation is planned from 2-4 p.m. Sunday at Mathews Funeral Home. No formal service is planned.