Words and actions
Published 1:19 am Thursday, October 27, 2011
The man behind the Voice of the Pamlico went silent Feb. 11, 2005.
If Ashley Brown Futrell Sr. were alive today, he would be celebrating his 100 birthday. He was 93 when he died. Those 93 years were filled with accomplishments — great and small.
A veteran of World War II, a former coach, teacher, baseball player, tobacco buyer and state senator, Futrell was best known in the Pamlico area for his work at the Washington Daily News. His editorials, many supporting such projects as a medical school for East Carolina University, won awards from the N.C. Press Association and gratitude from people behind those projects.
He offered counsel to many past and present community leaders and state political figures. Far more importantly, he had a kind heart for those who sought his help.
Old ABF helped shape his community, whether it was at his church, in his city, in his county, in eastern North Carolina or throughout the Old North State. Yes, he wrote tens of thousands of editorials and his weekly “Puttering Around the Pamlico,” pieces of journalism that brought results because old ABF put action behind those words.
The plaques, awards and certificates that cover the walls in his former office attest to those words and actions.
Former Daily News staffer Bill Sandifer, upon the death of Mr. Futrell, wrote this: “Coming through the front door on the way to the newsroom, I made a point of looking through that picture window to take in a character that could have been sent in from central casting, paid a few bucks as an extra and sent home.
“But Futrell was the real thing, never needed a stunt double to handle that Royal manual typewriter and made the newspaper a richer place.
“The front lobby will never be the same.”
Neither will North Carolina, especially eastern North Carolina.