Sportswriter Furman Bisher Dies

Georgia sportswriter covered the Kentucky Derby more than 50 years.

Georgia sportswriter Furman Bisher, a regular at the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) for years, died Sunday, March 18, of a heart attack. A native of Denton, N.C., he was 93.

Bisher spent 59 years with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution before retiring in 2009. He covered the Derby, the Masters, and the Georgia-Georgia Tech football games more than 50 times each.

Cot Campbell, founder of Dogwood Stable, was a friend of Bisher's.

“We were great pals and friends for a long, long time,” Campbell said. “When I lived in Georgia, he was supportive of my going out and establishing Dogwood. He also supported the effort of trying to bring racing to Georgia.

“He and his wife became good friends with us. He loved the Aiken Trials (in South Carolina). We’d get together for the Derby, the Masters, and those kinds of things. I think the Derby and the Masters were his favorites. He covered the Derby first in 1950, and I think covered all of them until the last several years.

“He called here frequently, and we talked about the Dogwood horses in training. He got a kick out of it. He was the last of a vanishing breed, on the stature with Red Smith, Shirley Povich, Jim Murray, Jimmy Cannon, and the other great columnists.”

Dogwood named a horse for Bisher. Furman Bisher, a colt by Langfuhr out of the Regal Intention mare Millashand, was a winner at Laurel last year. He ran second at Laurel in January in his last start.

Bisher’s survivors include his wife, Lynda, and a stepdaughter.

A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 24, at Northwest Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. Private graveside services are planned. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to Paul Anderson Youth Home, 1603 McIntosh St., Vidalia, Ga., 30474, or Eagle Ranch, 5500 Union Church Rd., Flowery Branch, Ga., 30542.