Good-bye Margaret Thrower and Don Heald

Atlanta lost two of its great ones this past week — Margaret Munroe Thrower and Don Elliot Heald.

I was lucky to have known both of them in different contexts, but mainly I admired both from afar.

Margaret Munroe Thrower was a warm, striking woman who celebrated her 70th wedding anniversary with Randolph Thrower, a legend in his own right.

I got to know Mrs. Thrower really through her brother — the late Richard Munroe, one of my parents’ dearest friends. He founded the Pocket Theatre with his partner, Luis Maza. And after the theater closed, he dedicated much of his time as president of the Alliance Francaise, the French school that was founded by my mother in 1963.

Somewhere along the way, I got to know Mrs. Thrower and many members of her exceptional family. She and her seven siblings were from a fascinating town — Quincy, Fla. When I covered the Coca-Cola Co., I realized that the stories of the company, the Munroes and Quincy were intertwined.

Ms. Thrower’s father was an early believer in Coca-Cola stock, and he convinced his friends and family to invest their savings in the soda drink company. As a result, Quincy a town of less than 10,000 people ended up with dozens of millionaires.

But Munroes I’ve known have always been humble, creative and full of life. And that described Margaret, a grand Southern dame.

Don Elliot Heald made his mark at WSB-TV, but that’s not how I got to know him. Back in 1987, Heald was chairman of the American Cancer Society when it was moving its headquarters from New York City. Atlanta was competing against Dallas and Houston.

Heald, a longtime Atlantan, also was chairing the society’s selection committee, and so he was a valuable source when I was covering the story. Although he made sure the American Cancer Society moved to the city with the best offerings for the nonprofit organization, it was obvious that he was pleased the choice was Atlanta.

So we say good-bye to two Atlantans who contributed to our city’s character and vitality. They will be missed.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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