Albert Lee Hester, 86, writer, publisher, local historian, professor of journalism, and founder of the James A. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, passed away on Thursday, April 11, 2019 at home in Athens, GA with his family.
Dr. Hester was a professor at the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia from 1972 - 1997, where the Cox Center was created through his initiative in 1985. During his teaching and research career, he authored and edited numerous books, scholarly and popular magazine articles, training handbooks, and monographs, and traveled to 36 countries, from Albania to Tunisia. Previously, he spent 13 years (1955-1968) as a reporter and editor for The Dallas Times Herald, receiving numerous awards for his writing. They included the National School Bell Award for Distinguished Service in the interpretation of education for a series, “The Shame of Our Schools,” about the Texas state school system. He embarked on his journalistic career at age 16 as a copy boy in The Associated Press’s Dallas office.
Born May 31, 1932 in Sweetwater, TX, Hester lived in Fort Worth, Abilene, Amarillo, and Dallas before moving with his parents, Katharine Louise Wood and Albert Harderick Hester to Richland, WA during WWII. From 1952 -1954, he served in the U.S. Army as Chief Regimental Clerk at the Presidio of San Francisco and was honorably discharged as Sergeant. He graduated from Southern Methodist University and received his master’s degree and doctorate in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
After retiring, Dr. Hester focused on writing and research projects on Athenian history and was particularly interested in bringing to light little-known facts of Athens’ Reconstruction history. His community service included volunteering with the Athens Historical Society, the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation, and Gospel Pilgrim Cemetery. He was a member of Saint Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, where he served on the vestry and as a Stephen’s Minister providing one-on-one lay care to people experiencing difficult times.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Conoly Cullum Hester; his children, Katherine Leigh Hester (Mark Carubia) of Atlanta, GA and Albert Cullum Hester (Therese Hurley) of Columbia, SC; his grandchildren Ava and Paloma Carubia; and cousins and nephews.
The family wishes to thank his caregivers, especially Jessica Norman, Gwen Harper, Christy Williams, Jennifer Butler, Christell Weaver, and Catricia Blake for their compassionate care.
A memorial service will be held on April 30, at 1:00 p.m. at Saint Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, 3195 Barnett Shoals Rd, Athens, GA 30605. There will be a reception at the church following the service. A private burial will be held at Oconee Hill Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, 3195 Barnett Shoals Rd, Athens, GA 30605 or the Athens-Clark Heritage Foundation, 489 Prince Avenue, Fire Hall No. 2, Athens, Georgia 30601 or www.achfonline.org/.
Lord and Stephens Funeral Home, EAST, Athens, GA, is in charge of arrangements. www.lordandstephens.com
Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation
489 Prince Ave, Athens GA 30601