Former publisher, Georgiana civic leader dies at 82

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 28, 2007

Former Butler County News Publisher Roger Pride, 82, died Friday, July 27, 2007 at the Georgiana Nursing Facility.

Pride became publisher of Georgiana's newspaper in 1957 succeeding his father. He held the position until 1997 when he sold the newspaper to Boone Newspapers.

Before he took over at the newspaper, Pride served in the U.S. Army where he rose to the rank of staff sergeant with Company Q 330 Infantry Division out of Fort Bragg.

He saw action in the Battle of the Bulge and other combat theaters in central Europe. His main occupation in the Army was as a tank commander.

His service brought him in contact with the likes of Gen. George Patton. For his service, he was awarded the Bronze Star; the good conduct medal and the Victory Medal.

He was honorably discharged on June 19, 1946.

Friday morning, Barbara Philpot, Pride's daughter, recalled her father's love of life.

&#8220He was simply a wonderful man,” she said. &#8220He knew so many people because he never met a stranger. He was always a gentleman and always had a keen interest in people.”

Philpot recalled her father as a man who loved a good story and enjoyed telling tall tales when he could. She also recalled a man who everyone could call friend.

&#8220He believed in friendship with others and if he could help you, he would,” she said.

During his time as publisher of the newspaper, he also served for 30 years on the Georgiana City Council and remained chairman of the Waterworks and Sewer Board until his death.

He was a lifelong member of the First United Methodist Church and also was a longtime member of the Georgiana Kiwanis Club.

He was also a Mason.

&#8220At some point he was a volunteer fireman,” Philpot said with a chuckle. &#8220I'm not sure how well that turned out.

But that was Daddy. He had a finger in most everything that happened in Georgiana.”

Another thing people will remember about Pride was his love of football and particularly his love of Georgiana Panther football.

&#8220For most, they will remember Daddy running up and down the sideline at most Georgiana football games,” she said.

&#8220He did that up until just a few years ago when his health wouldn't allow him to. He was afraid one of the players would WHOMP him before he got out of the way.”

Philpot said she would remember her father always as a &#8220good-hearted guy, who would help anyone he could.”

&#8220I know he is in a better place today,” she said.

Visitation will be Saturday, July 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Johnson Funeral Home in Georgiana.

The funeral will be Sunday with a time to be determined Friday afternoon.

Gene Hardin, retired Greenville Advocate publisher and editor, remembered Pride with affection.

&#8220We had a great working and personal relationship together,” Hardin said. &#8220He came up every week to get his (Butler County News) pages printed (at The Advocate press.)”

Hardin said Pride was always a great friend to him and his family.

&#8220People always seemed to really appreciate him after they met him,” he said. &#8220He could meet people so quickly and get to know them so thoroughly. I don't know that I ever heard him talk disparagingly about anybody. Roger was very devoted to his family and the newspaper business.”

He said he and Pride were great fishing buddies, but it was always the weekly trip Pride made to get his paper printed that he enjoyed.

Another longtime Pride friend is Georgiana Mayor Lynn Watson, who on Friday recalled his relationship with Pride and his family.

&#8220Roger was appointed councilman in Georgiana back in 1959 and served until 1988,” he said. &#8220That's a long tenure.”

Watson said Pride's work at the Butler County News was known throughout the country.

&#8220Until the BCN office closed down, it was the newspaper for south Butler County,” he said. &#8220People asked for it from all over the U.S. and we used to call him ‘The Scribe.'”

He added Pride was a good source of information on the area.

&#8220He probably knew more about what was going on in the southern part of the county and its history than anybody else,” he said. &#8220Roger was a real asset to the community and we sure are going to miss him. We love him and his family.”