Larry Fleming, 75, one of this area’s most respected sports writer; passed away Friday, November 1, 2019 at his home following a brief illness.
He passed away surrounded by those he loved the most. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend.
Born in Athens TN., on September 1, 1944, Larry was a well-known high school baseball player, playing shortstop for the McMinn County High School Cherokees. He had been offered a scholarship to Rollins College before enduring a career-ending injury to his throwing arm.
He began a 55 year career in journalism in 1964, working as a photographer for the Daily Post-Athenian, later moving into his dream job as a sports writer. In January 1967, he answered a phone call from then Chattanooga Times sports editor Jay Searcy and began a 31 year journey with the then morning paper here in Chattanooga.
While working at the Times, Larry became the beat writer for Tennessee football and basketball from 1970 through 1998, as well as covering the Chattanooga Lookouts. While covering the Lookouts, his son Dustin became a bat-boy, making it a family affair.
During his tenure covering Tennessee he became good friends with Vols basketball coach Don DeVoe and began a lifetime friendship with Bud Ford of the UT sports information office.
In 1987, Larry was named the Tennessee Sports Writer of the Year; as awarded by his peers in the National Sports Media Association.
After the News-Free Press and Times were sold and merged, Larry became the sports editor of the Dalton Daily Citizen-News, covering high school sports all across North Georgia from 2000-2011.
In 2011 Larry began a new career, writing for The Chattanoogan.com. He would again take on covering Tennessee football and area prep football, volleyball, baseball and softball. He was also able to reconnect with his Neyland Stadium press box neighbor Bruce Coleman of the Kingsport Times.
Larry was a 2002 inductee into the Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame, as well as being inducted into the Tennessee Sports writer Hall of Fame in 2011. He was a Heisman Trophy voter for many yeas as well.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles & Geneva Fleming; beloved daughter, Karen; and brother Mike.
Larry is survived by his wife of 55 years, Donna; son, Dustin (Liz) Fleming; and 2 grandchildren, Austin and Madi Fleming. He also leaves behind many friends and co-workers, past and present, who will miss him dearly.
There will be a private family service at Larry’s request.
Visit www.heritagechattanooga.com to share condolences to Larry’s family.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Cystic Fibrosis for research.
Arrangements are by Heritage Funeral Home, 7454 E. Brainerd Road.
To send flowers to Larry's family, please visit our floral section.