- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 17, 2007

George B. Prettyman Sr., who wrote a weekly column for the Cecil Whig newspaper for more than 50 years, died June 11 at an assisted-living center in Ellicott City, the newspaper reported. He was 94.

In his last column, published May 31, Mr. Prettyman said he rejoiced at seeing the sun rise, although he acknowledged struggling a little more each day to button his shirt. Mr. Prettyman ended his column with his trademark phrase, “by George!”

Thomas Kunkel, dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland at College Park, said columnists such as Mr. Prettyman are “the glue that bonds small towns.”

The columnist had sent in a brief resignation message a week before his death: “I’ve had a good time writing my columns, but it is time for me to sign off now. I cannot put the words together anymore. I want to thank you all for reading my columns, week after week, for a little longer than 50 years. It has made me many friends and, as far as I know, no enemies.”

In his last column, Mr. Prettyman wrote that he seldom wore his Sunday suit anymore, but he said, “I’m saving it for that final occasion. I want to make my exit in style.”

Michael Bullard, the Whig’s managing editor, said Mr. Prettyman was technologically savvy, filing columns by e-mail.

“He was still with it up until the very end,” Mr. Bullard said.

Besides his column, Mr. Prettyman had filled many roles in the community. He was not ordained, but was a licensed minister of the United Methodist Church and served at several churches. He taught English and sociology at Cecil Community College and taught Spanish at North East High School in the 1940s.

Mr. Prettyman helped start a local theater group, in addition to being the acknowledged local expert on his favorite team, the New York Yankees.

Funeral services were held at Zion United Methodist Church near Rising Sun, where Mr. Prettyman’s father preached.

Survivors include his daughter-in-law, Barbara E. Prettyman of Ellicott City, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. His son, George Prettyman Jr., died last week of pancreatic cancer at the age of 67.

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