Sportswriter Estes dies at 84

Published 12:40 am Monday, September 24, 2007

NATCHEZ — Retired sportswriter Glenvall Estes died early Sunday morning after a long bout with illness.

Estes, 84, wrote sports news and columns for The Natchez Democrat from 1947 until 2004, spanning three generations in a 57-year run that saw him elected president of the Mississippi Sportswriters Association, inducted into the Mississippi Sportswriter’s Association Hall of Fame and honored by the Miss-Lou Chapter of the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame.

His “Just Talkin’” column was noted for its conversational style, and former Democrat sportswriter Joey Martin said that was what made it unique.

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“We once had a sports editor who made the mistake of trying to edit Glenvall’s column,” Martin said. “Glenvall was thinking maybe it was time he stopped writing, but the publisher made sure that wasn’t going to happen. He knew the large following Glenvall had and had a talk with the sports editor.”

And, Martin said, the sports editor never tried to edit Estes’ column again.

Former professional football player Joe Fortunato said he met Estes through sporting events in the area, and said Estes was well liked.

“He was a heck of a sportswriter,” Fortunato said. “He certainly wrote a lot of good articles when I was playing for the Chicago Bears.”

Even in the later years, Estes was a throwback to an older kind of sportswriter, said Martin, who is now the sports editor at The Concordia Sentinel.

“He would sit at a typewriter and pound out his column on it,” Martin said.

Another attribute that marked Estes was humility, Martin said.

“Every time he would walk in he would hold out his column and say, ‘Here’s this old country piece of junk,’” he said. “We would always laugh because it was something the readers would look forward to every week.”

“I don’t believe Glenvall knew the impact he had on the area,” Martin said.

“He was a joy to be around.”

Estes served in the Navy during World War II, and also worked at Armstrong Tire and Rubber Co. for many years in addition to writing for The Natchez Democrat.

Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at First Baptist Church in Natchez, and burial will follow at the Natchez City Cemetery.