The popular sports writer, Jesse Outlar, passed away Saturday, April 9, 2011 to go to what he called the Big Sleep.
Outlar was born to Jesse P. Outlar and Lois Mangham in Finleyson, Georgia. The family settled in Omega where Outlar started his love affair with newspapers and sports. He had his own route at the age of seven delivering the Atlanta Journal, Atlanta Constitution and the Jacksonville Times-Union. He dreamed of writing the stories of the sports heroes he’d hurry home to read about after each morning’s deliveries.
Outlar began his writing career in Omega where he founded and edited the high school newspaper. At the University of Georgia, he was the sports editor of the Red and Black and in the US Marine Corps, Outlar was the editor of the Camp Lejeune ( North Carolina ) Globe.
In 1945, fresh out of the Marines, Outlar landed a job in Waycross, Georgia, where he was the sports editor of the Waycross Journal-Herald. During baseball season he also covered the Waycross professional team, broadcast the games over the radio, ran the PA system, filed game stories for the Savannah Morning-News and was home game official scorer. He somehow found time to marry Florence Beaton and begin a family.
Outlar took a cut in pay to work for the Atlanta Constitution for the starting salary of $50 weekly. He could not have known that this small-town boy from a city of less than 200 people would rise to the ranks to become the sports editor of a major metropolitan daily newspaper.
Outlar and his column grew up with Atlanta. He was a sports staff member for 41 years and sports editor and sports columnist the last 30 of those years. Outlar told the stories of the games and people behind the games of high school, college and professional football, baseball and basketball. He covered the Kentucky Derby, the World Series, The Super Bowl, the Masters, the Butts-Bryant Saturday Evening Post libel suit, world class boxing, Henry Aaron’s record-breaking homerun and anything sports about his beloved Georgia Bulldogs. He relished writing the story of the games and readers in the city of Atlanta loved reading about how Outlar saw them.
Outlar won numerous awards throughout his career. He was named Georgia Sportswriter of the Year three times by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association and he was voted as Georgia’s Sports Columnist of the Year four times by the Associated Press. He was a recipient of the University of Georgia Dan Magill Award for long and lasting contributions to sports. And in 1991, Outlar was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
Outlar married Johanna Kristjansdottir Hutson, a native of Iceland, in 1972. They were still honeymooning when a robbers’ bullet almost ended Outlar’s life. Leaving the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium after filing his story of an almost upset of the Falcons over the San Francisco 49ers, Outlar was shot. Miraculously, he recovered, missed a month and a half of work and was back on the beat.
Outlar is survived by his children, Barry and his wife Cheryl of Lilburn, Jan and her husband David Edwards of Fresno, California, his “adopted” daughter Cindy and Reverend Bill Calhoun of Gainesville, and Johanna’s sons, Jim Hutson of McDonough, David and Debbie Hutson of Dawsonville and Bill Hutson of Atlanta.
Together, he and Johanna had 11 grandchildren and 11 great grand-children.
The family will receive friends at a visitation this Friday, April 15, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Mowell Funeral Home in Peachtree City. An interment service will immediately follow at Westminster Memorial Gardens at 11:30 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Jesse Outlar may be made to the Jesse Outlar Scholarship, c/o Grady College, The University of Georgia, 120 Hooper Street, Athens, GA 30602. If you have additional questions, call please or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 706.542.5032.
Carl J. Mowell & Son, Peachtree City, GA 770-487-3959