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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dick Pettys, longtime political reporter who covered Gold Dome, has died

Georgia journalism lost one of its best and brightest last night. Dick Pettys, the prolific, soft-spoken newsman who spent more than three decades covering the Gold Dome for the Associated Press and later Insider Advantage, died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 66. Pettys was considered the "dean" of the Capitol Press Corps and considered by fellow journalists and the lawmakers he covered as fair, accurate, and extremely smart. Reports the Associated Press:

Pettys died Monday evening after having a massive heart attack at the home where he had retired in Clarksville, North Georgia, said Matt Towery, CEO of InsideAdvantage Georgia, where Pettys worked after retiring from the AP in 2005.

Towery said he received the news from Pettys' son, Richard Pettys Jr.

"I'm heartbroken," Towery said. "He was a fabulous guy. There was only one Dick Pettys."

It's not a far stretch to say that Pettys was, to fellow reporters, a kind and humble legend. (When the state House of Representatives recognized Pettys at the dais with an honorary resolution the year before he retired, his colleagues in the press box stood and applauded.) His articles were spot on, clear, and fair. And were written, I might add, very quickly. He seemed to know everything that was happening and everyone.

Former and current state politicos and observers commented on Jim Galloway's Monday evening post that helped spread the news of Pettys' passing. Mike Hassinger has penned a nice write-up as well. If you know of others, leave 'em in the comments.

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