By Greg Garrison
Birmingham native Marshall Latimore, executive editor of the Atlanta Voice, a historic Black-owned newspaper, has died.
He was 36.
His mother, Mary Latimore of Birmingham, said she was unable to reach him Tuesday night or Wednesday morning and asked for a wellness check. He was found dead at his home by Atlanta Police just after noon on Wednesday.
Mrs. Latimore said her son suffered from congestive heart failure.
“He had been hospitalized several times,” she said. “I assume his heart just gave out on him.”
She said he was salutatorian at Woodlawn High School, where he graduated in 2002. He earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from Tennessee State University. He worked at several jobs in journalism, including as a page designer for Alabama Media Group, publisher of AL.com, The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times and the Mobile Press-Register, from 2012-2014.
“He loved his work,” Mrs. Latimore said.
Atlanta Voice Publisher Janis Ware, whose father J. Lowell Ware started the newspaper in 1966, cried as she spoke of Latimore’s death. “He was like a son to me,” she said. “I’m excited and thrilled that he came our way for four years. He was the one helping us spearhead our digital transformation. That was critical.”
Atlanta Voice President Jim Washington said he last spoke with Latimore on Tuesday during a video conference call meeting.
“Marshall was a good, good human being; he had a good heart,” Washington said. “He was somebody we loved. He made us a family.”
Latimore excelled as an editor in difficult times, covering social unrest and the COVID-19 epidemic in the Black community, Washington said.
“He was respected by everybody in Atlanta,” Washington said. “Marshall had ears on the ground, boots to the ground, making sure we were where we needed to be.”
Latimore was also generous in mentoring young journalists, friends say.
“We’re getting accolades from around the country, from people who knew Marshall, worked with him and respected him,” Washington said. “We were lucky to have him here for four years.”
Latimore was proud of a project on homelessness he oversaw for the Atlanta Voice.
“He wanted to make sure it was top-notch,” Washington said. “He was one of the most broadly based, intelligent people I knew.”
The staff at the Atlanta Voice are emotional about the loss of Latimore, he said. “Right now, people are doing their jobs, breaking down,” Washington said. “People are so stunned.”