Thomasson, former editor of Newnan Times-Herald, dies

Feb 1, 2022


Marianne Carlisle Thomasson, age 72, passed away Dec. 19, 2021, at Piedmont Fayette hospital after an extended illness.

Thomasson graduated from the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and began her career at the Atlanta Constitution as an action-line reporter in 1970. She quickly moved to The Newnan (Georgia) Times-Herald in 1971, first working as a reporter, then managing editor, until her retirement as vice president.

She married Billy Thomasson in 1973.

Marianne was a force to be reckoned with within the newspaper community and led the Times-Herald's newsroom with award-winning precision and a sharp sense of humor. She chaired several committees within the Georgia Press Association, including Press Institute Committee, Editorial Seminar Committee, Convention Committee and the Georgia Educational Foundation Board of Trustees. She held every executive committee position within GPA, ultimately serving as president in 1998-'99. She was the second woman to ever hold that position.

She was a president of the UGA College of Journalism Advisory Board, a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, the UGA Journalism Alumni Association, the GPA Board of Directors, GPA Journalism in Education Committee and the GPA Centennial Campaign Committee, and was a recipient of the National Newspaper Association's Bill Branen Fellowship.

Marianne and her leadership will be missed by many in GPA across the state. When she wasn't actively involved in her newspaper career, Marianne pursued her passions in the arts.

She grew and maintained stunning bonsai trees and could root anything. No cutting ever went to the compost heap on purpose, but if it did, it most likely rooted and grew into a prized plant. She often grew trees with special meaning to give to her friends. Visitors rarely left her house empty-handed, usually with a new plant and an ice cold cola.

She was a skilled potter, spending hours throwing pots on her wheel and teaching her grandkids how to center a lump of clay, hand-build a work of art or fire raku in the backyard. She specialized in small pots that she used to hold accent plants for her larger bonsai, then began creating what she called tiny "dish gardens" that she filled with cuttings and gave as gifts or donated for local fundraisers.

Locally, she was active in the Coweta CERT program, the Coweta Public Safety Foundation, the Kiwanis Club of Newnan and the Reading Circle. Marianne was known for telling filthy jokes and never holding back with her opinion.

She was a fierce leader, caring mentor and staunch advocate for truth. The world is a better place because of her contributions to our community.

Survivors include her husband of 48 years, Billy Thomasson; daughter Beth Neely and her husband, Clay; grandchildren Charlie and Anna Neely; Damn Precious the cat; and spoiled rotten dogs Harold and Sugar. She also leaves behind one brother, Jim Carlisle (Debbie), and a sister, Deana Carlson.

Flowers are welcome, as she held a special place in her heart for Murphey's Florist. Memorial contributions can be made in her honor to Backstreet Arts, the Trevor Project, the Newnan-Coweta Humane Society, Samaritan Clinic or Phil's Friends.