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Veteran state journalist Bob Ingram dies at 81

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Veteran journalist Bob Ingram, who spent six decades reporting on Alabama politics in newspapers and on TV, died Thursday night, ending a career that made him as well known as the politicians he covered. He was 81.

Ingram passed away after a two-year battle with the blood disorder myelodysplasia, his son, Ragan Ingram, said Friday.

Bob Ingram reported on the big events in Alabama from the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 through the governor's race of 2006. His weekly column, "The Alabama Scene," was a fixture of small newspapers throughout the state for nearly 50 years until he had to discontinue it in May due to his declining health.

Gov. Bob Riley said Alabama will miss Ingram.

"He was an icon. He understood Alabama politics in a way very few ever will because he not only reported on it, he lived it and he loved it," Riley said.

Ingram left reporting for a few years to serve as Gov. Albert Brewer's state finance director. "As a reporter he knew all the inner workings of state government, and it served him well as state finance director. He didn't need on-the-job training," Brewer said Friday.

Brewer said Ingram had known every Alabama governor since James E. "Big Jim" Folsom.

"He claimed friendship with many of them. He was admired and respected by all of them," Brewer said.

Ragan Ingram said his father enjoyed entertaining his family and friends with wonderful stories about Alabama politics.

"All the things that happened in Alabama politics in the last half of the 20th century we got to hear about at home," he said.

Ingram's funeral will be at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Cloverdale Baptist Church in Montgomery. Visitation will be from 3-6 p.m. Saturday at Leak Memory Funeral Home in Montgomery.

Ingram grew up in Centre, where his mother, the town librarian, taught him a love of reading and writing. After serving as a Marine in the South Pacific in World War II, he graduated from Auburn University and worked for the Cherokee County Herald in his hometown. From there, he went to the Gadsden Times, serving as state editor and sports editor, before joining the Montgomery Advertiser in 1953.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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