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Don Heald

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HEALD, Don DON ELLIOT HEALD Don Elliot Heald, beloved husband, father and grandfather, leader in the broadcast industry and in Atlanta civic life, died February 19, 2009 at his home at Canterbury Court. He was 86 years old. He was born in Concord, Massachusetts, on July 7, 1922 to Jay Morrill Heald and Ethel Elliot Heald. The family moved to Lakeland, Florida where he grew up among his father's orange groves. Heald began his broadcast career at WRUF in Gainesville where he graduated from the University of Florida in 1947. It was a news job at WSB radio that lured him to Atlanta. In 1950 he moved to WSB-TV television and in 1952 he married the former Sara Farmer. They began to raise a family and Heald became a prominent voice and active participant in Atlanta life for the next fifty years. As Atlanta's leading television station, WSB provided the platform for Heald to build a notable professional and civic life. He served as News Director, Sales Manager and then V.P. and General Manager of WSB-TV for 16 years. He was responsible for creating the news team Atlantans still watch today, hiring both Monica Kaufman and John Pruitt. Heald often referred to his thirty years at WSB as the "golden age" of television. He was the founding president of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Southeast, and served as a national trustee. He was inducted into the NATAS gold circle for fifty years of service to the industry in 2004. Prior to that Heald entered the Georgia Broadcasters Hall of Fame at UGA in 1997. Heald was also the telephone voice of the Audichron time-of-day service for generations. He served as Chairman of the Protestant Radio and Television Center and was the host of the Protestant Hour radio show for fifty years. For nearly fifty years he narrated the televised Christmas Eve service from the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip, where he served as a vestryman, junior warden and senior warden. Heald also served as president of the Kiwanis Club of Northside Atlanta, president of the Atlanta Advertising Club, president of the Peach Bowl Football Classic, and member of the Salvation Army Metropolitan Advisory Board. Upon retiring from WSB-TV in 1980, Heald devoted his time to the . As the national Chairman he was instrumental in moving the headquarters from New York City to Atlanta. During retirement he also helped launch WGXA-TV in Macon, GA as President of Russell-Rowe Communications from 1981 to 1995. His family was his greatest delight in life. Known as "Bub" to his three sons and daughters-in-law and his seven grandchildren, he gathered them together every Thanksgiving in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL and every summer at Lake Burton, giving him and Sara some of the fondest memories of their family life. Don Elliot Heald is survived by his wife of 57 years, Sara Farmer Heald of Atlanta, GA; sons and daughters-in-law David and Deborah of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, Tom and Evelyn, Frank and Mary of Atlanta; grandchildren John and Laura of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, Sarah, Anna, Robert, David and Mary Emma of Atlanta; sister Mrs. J. Maxwell Williams, Tampa, FL; nephews and their wives Max and Carol Williams, Memphis, TN, Jay and Ann Williams, Largo, FL, and Tom and Jane Williams, Ocoee, FL. A Service of Celebration and Thanksgiving will take place at 2:00 pm, Tuesday February 24, 2009 at the Cathedral of St. Philip. There will be a reception immediately following the service. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to The Cathedral of St. Philip, the or Hospice Atlanta.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from Feb. 20 to Feb. 23, 2009
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