In Memoriam

Bill Wellborn (MA '01), former Memphis Business Journal editor and University of Memphis alum, passed away at the age of 62 in May. Wellborn was a well-respected leader at the Journal who created a family-like atmosphere for those around him to work. A man who demanded excellence, he was admired by all around him and inspired dedication and commitment from those who worked for him.

Wellborn began his distinguished career in 1978 as a general assignment reporter at the Arkansas Sun. During his long career, he has been sports editor for the Malvern Daily Record in Malvern, Ark., and the Helena World, he was managing editor of Associations Publications in Collierville, Tenn., and reporter and managing editor of MBJ before being promoted to editor in 1997.

He also taught feature writing in the Department of Journalism at the UofM. While editor, Wellborn led MBJ to numerous awards from the Tennessee Press Association, including a 2005 first place for General Excellence (the top award). He received Best Column several times. 

Last year, he was honored for his career achievements with the Charles E. Thornton Award, which is given annually by the UofM Journalism Alumni Club. The Thornton Award is named in honor of a Memphis journalist who was killed while on assignment in Afghanistan in 1985 and is given to individuals who have made an extraordinary impact in their field and in the community. 

Curt F. Hopper (BFA '87) passed away in January at his home in Savannah, Tenn., after a 16-month battle with lung cancer. He was a Theatre-Communication Arts major. Mary Ann Nash (BA '82), 55, passed away January 2014. She was a Journalism major.

Beverly Dotson Booth Owen (BA '83), lifelong Memphian, teacher and journalist, passed away April 2015. She was 76.

Charles Thompson II (BS '64), 72, passed away December 2014 from complications from Parkinson's. He was the primary writer and reporter for a 1991 Emmy Award-winning report on the exposure of Navy recruits to a highly toxic mustard gas during World War II. The effects of Agent Orange would surface for him nearly 30 years later in the form of a blood disorder that left him incapacitated and forced his early retirement from CBS in 1995. He was a reporter for the Commercial Appeal after his graduation
from Memphis State University. He then moved to television journalism in the early 70s, working for CBS in New York, Atlanta and Washington. In 1978, he became founding producer for 20/20, frequently working with Giraldo Rivera. One of his memorable contributions to the show was a six-month investigation into the death of Elvis Presley hosted by Rivera.

Glen Allen Reed (BFA '78), 61, passed away October 2014 in Los Angeles, Calif. Glen had a successful career as a lighting and technical design director of many live shows with United Artists. He worked on shows with public television in Pittsburgh, Pa., before moving to California. He was a successful producer of television and movies with his company G.A. Productions.

Joseph Rewis Hargraves (BA '75), 66, passed away December 2014. He worked for many years with the Illinois Central Railroad and for WREC Radio. 

Carl Duvall Gilmer III (DMA '78) passed away suddenly December 2014. An exceptional organist, singer, conductor, teacher and mentor, he taught at Westminster College, New Wilmington, Pa.; Radford University, Radford, Va., and Norfolk Statue University, Norfolk, Va.

John Frederick Hiltonsmith (BME '83), 54, passed away December 2014. He began taking organ lessons at the age of 12. Over the years, he expanded his music knowledge by picking up countless instruments. His knowledge of music served as a foundation for numerous organizations, beginning as the organist and organ technician for the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis for more than 25
years and continuing with the restoration of the organ at the New Orleans' Saenger Theatre. He would later go to the Memphis Men of Harmony and perform with the award-winning quartet, Ringside, and directed the Memphis chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society. He later created and directed the award-winning a capella group, Beg to Differ, when he was teaching at Memphis University School.

Roy Neal Osgathorpe (BSET '77), 84, passed away December 2014. He served in the United States Air Force and earned his degree in Engineering Technology from Memphis State. He played the banjo and helped establish the Music Scene in the early 60s. He was one of the original founders of the Cooper-Young festival. He was an authority on comic books and old 78 music record. He operated booths in almost every antique mall in Memphis.

Emily McAllister (MMU '74), 76, passed away in June 2015. She played organ and piano professionally and was a patron of the arts. Emily was also an accomplished keyboard accompanist for musicians throughout the area.

Kim Michael Roberts (BA '89), 63, passed away in May 2015. He was retired from the Memphis Fire Department and a life member and attendee of the Masonic Lodge and Scottish Rite. Kim graduated with a Theatre-Communication Arts degree, majoring in Communication.

Patsy Ruth Whitten (BS '59), 78, passed away May 2015. She graduated with a Journalism degree from Memphis State University.