It was with a great deal of sadness that we saw that Elliott Minor died on Thursday.
Minor, who retired from his long career with the Associated Press in 2007, was based here in Albany for the last 23 years of his journalism career. It's difficult to think of a journalist who had a greater depth of understanding of the wide range of subjects that Minor covered.
He would be in a field with a farmer talking about a crop disease or how yields were going one day, then head down to Moody Air Force Base to cover an event there the next. He observed more than a dozen executions in Georgia, including the final one conducted by electrocution and the first one in which lethal injection was used. Minor covered the great floods of the 1990s, Klan rallies, tornadoes and other big events, but also found stories about four-room hotels and a stolen tractor that was buried in a field. He spoke with President Jimmy Carter and he interviewed kids at school, treating them and everyone in between with the same respect and courtesy.
And while some TV and radio talking heads make a living from bashing "mainstream media," as a representative of the world's largest news-gathering organization for a third of a century, one would be hard-pressed to find evidence of bias or personal opinion in a report by Elliott Minor.
Stationed in Southwest Georgia in a one-man bureau, he was resourceful, shooting many of the photos that accompanied his stories and always on the lookout for the unusual, hitting the mother lode with the infamous "Hogzilla" story that caught the attention of nearly everyone. On one of his last assignments, he made numerous TV news shows with footage of him stepping lively away after volunteering to be a guinea pig for a demonstration of a military heat ray at Moody.
Behind the scenes, he was a delight to work with, a bit quirky in some ways, but clearly a man who genuinely enjoyed people. He was fond of gadgets and had about a half-dozen computers when he retired. He was an accomplished musician and a tinkerer who built his own portable laptop desk out of items including a walker that he obtained from second-hand stores.
He also was one of the most recognizable journalists around, with a graying beard, a Panama hat and his ever present vest. He had a bit of flare that's sometimes missing in our business.
Most of all, he always seemed to enjoy life. And he used his curiosity about anything and everything to craft some wonderful stories, many of which shared an image of Southwest Georgia that the rest of the world would have missed had he not been here.
Elliott Minor was a good man, a person who was a pleasure to work with and a pleasure to know, a true professional who worked hard at his craft and never lost his enthusiasm when it came to sharing a tale.
He will be missed.