Obituaries published in the March 2020 edition of the Texas Press Messenger.
TEXARKANA – Johnny Green, who served as sports director for the Texarkana Gazette for more than four decades, died Feb. 11. He was 76.
A native of Hooks, Green was hired out of high school by the Gazette in 1962. He retired July 11, 2011.
Green began his career as a beat reporter. After a short stint with the Shreveport Times, he returned to the Gazette as sports director. Green covered Texas High for much of the latter years of his career, continuing coverage of the Tigers for the Gazette on a part-time basis for several seasons after his retirement. He worked with other area coaches and programs in three states as well.
He was a long-time member of the Texas Writers Association, the Associated Press Sports Editors Association, two-time Texarkana Gazette Employee of the Year and once a Palmer Newspapers Employee of the Year. He was inducted into the Fox Sports Fan-Fest Hall of Fame in 2015.
Upon his retirement in 2011, the mayor proclaimed July 11th as “Johnny Green Day.” Additionally, TISD funds a scholarship in his honor for a student pursuing a sportswriting career.
Green was known for the meticulous detail of his coverage. In dozens of tributes published in the Gazette and online, his colleagues and former coworkers recalled him as a staunch local sports fan and storyteller who was helpful to other writers.
“In our haste to move forward, we often too soon forget the ones that paved the way. Johnny Green will have no such fate,” Texarkana Gazette Editor Les Minor said. “Today, Gazette phones have been abuzz with Johnny Green fans from near and far calling to get a last word in — something Johnny himself probably never gave them. Johnny’s words touched the lives of sports fans, players, coaches, peers and a slew of sports writers still pounding on keyboards late into the night. Through them his legacy moves forward still.”
Green is survived by his wife of 55 years, Karen, three children, 11 grandchildren, five great grandchildren and other relatives.
Services were held graveside at Chapelwood Memorial Gardens on Feb. 15.
Joseph Wayne Spraggins
MURPHY – Joseph Wayne Spraggins, 95, of Murphy, a career journalist and businessman, died Jan. 22 at Methodist Richardson Hospital.
A native of Montgomery, Alabama, Spraggins earned a business administration degree at Auburn University.
He was a veteran of World War II, serving three years in the Navy and Fleet Marines and earning the Asiatic-Pacific Medal, American Theatre Medal and Victory Medal. In 2015, he was awarded a Congressional Veteran’s Commendation by former Congressman Sam Johnson.
Sprains served a police reporter for the Montgomery Advertiser, stringer for the Associated Press, sports reporter for the Houston Post, an editor for the Houston Chronicle and a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. When his newspaper career ended, he moved to Dallas, where he helped pioneer the ice machine business.
While living in Murphy in retirement, he wrote newsletters and columns for local newspapers.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Betty Nichols Spraggins, two children, three stepchildren and other relatives.
A memorial service was held Feb. 1 at the Murphy Community Center.
Memorials donations may be made to the Murphy Veterans Tribute Memorial Fund at www.MurphyVeteransTribute.org.
Madelon Douglas Graham
BEAUMONT – Former journalist Madelon Douglas Graham, 73, of Beaumont, died Feb. 5 at Harbor Hospice, Beaumont.
Graham worked as the assistant director and curator at Cornwell Galleries in Houston. She was a former principal of St. Paul’s Church School in Woodville and a former freelance writer for the Tyler County Booster and the Newton County News.
She later formed Journal Publications and published the Cracker Barrel, a tabloid newspaper distributed in Tyler and Jasper counties.
She is survived by her sister, Jeanne Miller; brother, Fletcher Graham, a niece, a nephew and other relatives.
Funeral service was held Feb. 14 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Beaumont. Interment followed at Magnolia Cemetery, Beaumont.
Memorials may be made to the The National Multiple Sclerosis Society at www.nationalmssociety.org.