Otis A. Brumby Jr., who served as publisher of The Marietta Daily Journal since 1967 and also was a member of the Georgia Board of Transportation during a lengthy career in business, journalism and public service, died Saturday at the age of 72.
He had been diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer two years ago, according to an obituary published Saturday evening in his newspaper.
The MDJ obituary said a private burial will be held next Wednesday at Dawson Cemetery, followed by an 11 a.m. memorial service at , where Brumby was a longtime member.
Brumby became publisher of the newspaper just as Cobb experienced its first development boom. His publications chronicled the growth of the area into a suburban powerhouse, with a journalistic foundation based on an advocacy of fiscal conservatism, open government and public education.
“At his core, Otis was a journalist whose first commitment was to open government and protection of the First Amendment, and he did that,” said Georgia Supreme Court Justice Harris Hines, a longtime Cobb resident and Brumby friend, in an obituary published by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
But as Creative Loafing illustrated in a 2001 profile, Brumby's headstrong nature also engendered plenty of animosity from journalists who formerly worked for him and from a number of prominent elected officials, including former Cobb Commission Chairman Bill Byrne.
Newspapers have been in the Brumby family for nearly a century. His father, Otis A. Brumby, Jr., founded the Cobb County Times in 1916 and purchased the MDJ in 1951, according to the MDJ obituary.
After earning a law degree from the University of Georgia, Brumby returned home to Marietta in 1965 to serve as assistant publisher of the MDJ.
In 1969, Brumby added to his media business by creating the Neighbor Newspapers, more than 20 weekly publications located throughout suburban Atlanta. One of those publications is the Douglas Neighbor.
Brumby's son, Otis A. Brumby III, is the current general manager of the MDJ.
Public officials from Cobb praised Brumby's work in the MDJ remembrance, including his doggedness in holding them accountable. Said former State. Sen. Chuck Clay, a Marietta Republican:
"The people of Georgia have been well served by his efforts. I just hope they know what a legal quorum is in heaven or there is going to be trouble, and I bet on Otis.”