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Goodbye to a Colleague Maynard Eaton, 1949 – 2023

The only fitting way to affix a funeral program to esteemed broadcast and print journalist Maynard Eaton would be to design it like a magazine. And that is exactly what his wife-colleague Robin Williams-Eaton and his circle of family and friends did for him.

A colleague and friend of this writer since Eaton’s birth in Newark and childhood residence in Orange, New Jersey moved to the ATL in 1977, the grim reaper masquerading as lung cancer claimed his life on May 23 of this year. It was a short and shocking end to his 74 years of life which came 39 days after what turned out to be his final birthday celebration (April 15). “We never thought he would be alive only for a couple of months,” Mrs. Eaton noted in the homegoing program. He had been diagnosed with the disease on March 15th but had already made recovery plans and return to his position as endowed journalism professor at his college alma mater Hampton University. Eaton was quietly cremated following well deserved plaudits delivered at Hampton, in Kokomo Indiana, and at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church June 16th. Eaton was saluted by a platitude of media colleagues and friends including ministers Dr. Jasper Williams, Reverend Darryl Winston, retired pastor Dr. Gerald Durley and Ebenezer senior pastor and US Senator Rapheal Warnock.

“He was my king,” Eaton’s son Maynard Junior told The Inquirer by phone June 17. “As I got older, I got closer to Dad. He became my best friend.” “Dad left some big shoes to fill,” said Eaton’s daughter Mya Eaton-Fuller. “He had such a loving nature and was sincere and honest. He kept it real.”

“There was no rating to rate THE Maynard Eaton.” said media account executive RDW Jackson, one of Eaton’s six honorary pallbearers. “There was no story he didn’t cover. Since he got to town here 46 years ago, he has always been a champion in the Atlanta media market.” Eaton, whose career included work for WXIA-11 Alive Television as a tough-nosed anchor-reporter for eight years, received eight Emmy awards, was a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists in 1975, President of the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists, and of late, national communications director with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

“I think his most enduring legacy is the students (at Clark-AU and Hampton) and young people who were influenced by him,” says wife Robin. “He opened those doors and laid a foundation for other Black journalists. He was so excited to be at Hampton helping the next generation.”

Maynard Eaton Homegoing
Maynard Eaton Homegoing

Last updated on July 1, 2023

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