By: E&P Staff
He loved his family, bawdy jokes, University of Alabama football and a good cigar.
Such is the key remembrance today by The Tennessean of its former editor, Wilby Wayne Whitt, who died Wednesday at 86 died following a short illness.
Whitt, cited as a major contributor to the adoption of Metro government in Nashville, used his popular “Metro Beat” column to encourage the combination of Davidson County and Nashville city governments into a single Metropolitan system. That dream was realized in 1963.
An Athens, Ala., native, Whitt worked 14 months for United Press in Ohio and West Virginia before joining the Tennessean in 1946 as a cub reporter. In 30 years as a reporter, he covered local and state government, courts and education, the Tennessean said, and He was named a Neiman Fellow in 1953.
The Tennessean reported that on fall Saturdays, Whitt would watch SEC football games and enjoy his cigars in the newsroom conference room, where he could smoke in peace.
In 1976 he was promoted to managing editor, and remained in that post until his retirement in 1990, on April Fool’s Day.