It would be hard to find too many Gainesville residents who had his fingers in more pies than Ted Oglesby.
Oglesby, 84, died Tuesday after battling heart disease. He leaves behind Betty, his wife of 64 years, their two children, and a lengthy list of friends, colleagues and accomplishments that would stretch the length of Green Street and back. He was one of our town’s true Renaissance men.
Most remember Oglesby for his 25 years at The Times as a writer, editor and editorialist, and another decade-plus as a regular columnist on this page. It is with pride we claim him as an alumnus of our newsroom, one of many outstanding journalists who built the paper’s foundation over 70 years.
But Oglesby was much more, his life taking a Forrest Gump-like route through much of 20th century history. Born in Appling County in 1932, his travels around the world brought him to these shores in the 1950s.
Among the many highlights of his fascinating life:
• He was a Bronze Star decorated veteran and Air Force officer who served in Vietnam and was recalled to active duty in 1968 during the Pueblo Crisis, when a U.S. Navy ship and its crew was captured by North Korea. He later served as moderator at the National War College in Washington.
• He helped found the Tribune newspaper in 1959 and served as its editor for the next decade before joining The Times in 1970.
• He worked as a news and sports reporter and political commentator for WDUN radio, his specialty being his election night forecasts of local races.
• He directed the Hall County census in 1970 and led the Hall County government’s efficiency committee.
• He served as Republican Party district chairman. Over the years, Oglesby served behind the scenes as an adviser and confidant of many political leaders, including Newt Gingrich and Nathan Deal, and worked as a speech writer for Zell Miller.
• He was a prolific freelance writer, prepared tax returns, taught classes at Brenau University and was founder and chairman of the Small Business Development Center in Gainesville.
Amid all this, Ted also was a devoted husband, father and church deacon who gave of himself fully to civic organizations. His efforts earned him acclaim in the Georgia General Assembly in 2015, and further acknowledgement on the Georgia Senate floor this week from his friend, state Sen. Butch Miller.
Former Times editor Alma Bowen remembers him as a journalist who sought not just to cover the news but to have a positive effect on the community.
“In my memory, Ted Oglesby made a big difference in our newsroom when he came in,” she said. “He began by doing a question/answer column about important community matters on Page 1. He soon was working as a reporter covering government entities and from that he began writing editorials. He was dedicated to this country’s armed forces, to the Republican Party, to his family and to this community.”
Above all, he was consistent. In politics, he began working with Republicans even when Democrats were the dominant force in Georgia. He maintained moderate to conservative views, never tilting toward extremes in any direction, yet was always willing to listen to opposing views and debate issues in a civil, respectful manner with those on the other side. Because of this, many followed his advice knowing it was grounded in what worked best for everyone, not just for political gain.
That sense of steady values and public service is the memory of Ted Oglesby this community will cherish in honoring his life. We are thankful for all he gave us, and we join in offering our heartfelt condolences to his family and close friends.
Share your thoughts on this or any other topic in a a letter to the editor; you can use this form or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Times editorial board includes General Manager Norman Baggs, Editor Keith Albertson and Managing Editor Shannon Casas, plus community members Susan DeCrescenzo, Cathy Drerup and Brent Hoffman.