Alfred (Al) Al Marshall Thomy

August 14, 1925October 14, 2012

Greensboro, NC: Alfred Marshall (Al) Thorny, 87, died Sunday October 14, 2012. He was born in Lake City, S. C., August 14, 1925 and was the son of Salim A. and Blanche M. Thorny.

A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 AM Thursday, October 18, 2012 at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 2210 N. Elm St., Greensboro, NC 27408.he visitation will follow the service in the Kloster Center.

He was educated at Greensboro Senior High (now Grimsley Senior High), Guilford College, UNCG (summer school), and the University of North Carolina Journalism School. He served in the U.S. Army, 1953-55, Information and Education Division, 101m Airborne, Headquarters Company, Sergeant, Ft. Jackson, sports editor and NCO of post newspaper; received The Department of Defense award winner as one of best service newspapers in the world.

He was a sports writer or sports Director at one time or another for the Durham Herald, The Atlanta Constitution, The Houston Press, the Greensboro News-Record, ESPN Magazine, and edited the ACC Sports magazine.

He is the author of three published books: Rambling Wreck: A History of Georgia Tech Football (Strode, 1973); Pepper: Autobiography of An Unconventional Coach, (Doubleday, 1976) and Bill Elliott: Fastest Man Alive (Peachtree Publishers 1988). One unpublished book, The History of the Atlanta Braves (written specifically for the Atlanta Braves archives). The Elliott book was a finalist as Georgia Art Council Biography of The Year.

Al won his first journalistic award (North Carolina Press Association) at age 23, (coverage of Duke-Wake Forest game in 1948) and last award at 77 (top sports columnist, community division, North Carolina Press Association) in 2002. In between, he was cited for at least 25 other national and regional journalistic awards in football, basketball, baseball, racing and opinion columns. He was named top racing columnist of 1995 by the National Motorsports Press Assn.

The year 2006 marked 63 years as a journalist and sports writer and his 31 awards in baseball, football, basketball, racing and investigative profiles moved his ex-boss Jim Minter to say, "Al's knowledge of sports is frightening."

1980-2002: In 1991 he began writing weekly racing columns, and in those 12 years, won six national writing awards for NASCAR coverage, and one North Carolina Press Association first place for columns (community division). His last award came at age 77.

To say Al was an extraordinary person and writer, one only has to glimpse at his sports writing background. –First North Carolinian to cover major league sports on a regular beat, and one of a few in the nation to cover some games in every major league—National and American baseball, National Football League, American Football League, National Basketball Assn., National Hockey League, National Soccer League, as well as old World Football League. He was also beat man in Piedmont Carolina and Southern Assn. minor leagues, and did special assignments on old North State, Georgia State, Sally and Georgia-Florida leagues. He covered minor and major league training camps.

His Sports Positions And Memberships included:—Secretary and charter member of Southern Motorsport Press Association; Director of United States Basketball Writers Association; Chairman of the Press Services Committee, U. S. Basketball Writers Association; Member of the All-America Selection Committee, U. S. Basketball Writers Association; Atlanta's charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors, served 12 years; Atlanta's designated liaison between NFL officials and the media, only media member allowed in officials' dressing room before or after game; Also member of Baseball Writers of America, National Motorsports Press Association; Southern Association (baseball) Writers, Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Writers Associations; Non-sports: Member of Houston Press Club, Atlanta Press Club, American Legion, Elks Club, and East Lake Country Club (Atlanta).

On line condolences may be sent through


  • Memorial Mass of Christian Burial Thursday, October 18, 2012

Alfred (Al) Al Marshall Thomy

have a memory or condolence to add?


receive updates when new memories are posted

Carol Crutchfield

November 9, 2013

Just got this reminder email that Al's Guest Book will close down soon. It is hard to believe it has been so long. In fact just yesterday I was talking about him with a friend that goes to St. Pius. I still miss you Al! Especially when I drive on Wendovwe by the house. I drive by every now and the hoping it was all a dream.

Al Thomy, you were, and are still, a very very special man. People here still speak of you and your wonderful stories. We still love you! I love and miss you tremendously. I hope you and daddy and Smitty are sharing old stories.


Nancy McCleary

October 17, 2012

I grew up knowing Al Thomy. I've never not known him. I've heard wonderful stories about him and I've heard some pretty funny stories from him. The mold was broken when they made Al. He was, as we used to joke, suave and debonair (pronounced swave and de-boner), a ladies man and a devoted son to his mother, Blanche. Al was an incredibly gifted journalist who achieved what other journalists can only dream of doing. Al did make this world a better and brighter place. And his Super Bowl parties were the stuff dreams are made of for a young rookie reporter cutting her teeth in the business. He was a legend -- at least for me. God Bless You, Al. And tell Mama and Daddy hey!
Nancy Crutchfield McCleary

Ed McDonald

October 17, 2012

I was introduced to Al Thomy, and befriended by him, during my days with the Greensboro Police Dept. Al was handsdown among the two or three most unique and interesting individuals I have had the pleasure to meet during my life. There was only one Al and you don't replace characters or people like him. He made the world a better place and will be greatly missed.

Our heart felt sympathies to his family members and friends.

May he rest in peace.

The McDonalds, Ed and Marian

Joanie Attayek

October 17, 2012

Our Sincerest Heartfelt Sympathies to the many friends and family of this special man. Heaven has gained the ultimate sports writer!!

All our Love & Praise to God for taking this Soul to rest in Heaven!

From the Attayek Family: Margaret, Joe Jr, Pat, Mike, Danny, Johnny & Joanie

Claudia Ihme

October 17, 2012

Charlie, We were so sad to read about the passing of Mr. Thomy. My father, Claude Hardin, was Al's roommate at Moses Cone Hospital this summer. We are sad to let you know that Daddy passed away on Sept.21. Sending you our thoughts and prayers.

October 17, 2012

Charlie, I am so sorry to read about the passing of Mr. Thomy. My father, Claude Hardin, was Al's roommate at Moses Cone Hospital this summer. I am sad to tell you that my dad passed away on Sept.21. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Claudia Ihme

Carol Crutchfield Carter

October 16, 2012

Al Thomy was a wonderful man who smiled every time I saw him. He worked with my daddy, Moses Crutchfield at the N&R Sports Department. My sister and I were honored to call him our "Godfather." When he wasn't at Lake City during the holidays, you could find him at our house ready for Chocolate Pie. His stories were so wonderful, funny and about so many things. We promise to cherish those and write them down. The N&R story was a wonderful tribute, but got one thing wrong. Al Thomy did raise his voice to Howard Cosell by tell him to "shut up" during an interview. Everytime he told that story even he would burst out laughing. We love you Al and know that you can rest in peace with you wonderful mom and my mom and dad. Thank you for being our Godfather and thank you for being Al.

Reveley Thomy

October 16, 2012

We were so sorry to hear of Al's passing. He was such a dear family member; we always enjoyed it when he visited in Lake City for many holidays with Aunt Alice Thomy! He was such a talented writer, and we are blessed to have called him a cousin! He will truly be missed! Our thoughts are with all his family and loved ones!
Reveley and Greg Thomy