Retired Dispatch Washington Bureau Chief George Embrey was remembered yesterday as an incisive, insightful journalist who rose from a high-school job as a copy boy to cover seven presidents.
Embrey died at age 81 on (June 5) at his home in Nags Head, N.C., said his brother-in-law, Michael Hicks.
He retired from The Dispatch in 1995, closing out a journalism career that spanned 46 years, all at the same newspaper. A story published at the time of his retirement chronicled his work.
Embrey, who grew up on the South Side, actually began working forThe Dispatch as a carrier in the mid-1940s. He became a copy boy while attending Columbus’ South High School in 1949.
He joined the news staff full time in 1951, working as a communications reporter and general assignment reporter while attending Ohio State University.
After Embrey earned his journalism degree in 1955, he served two years as a tank platoon leader at Fort Riley, Kan.
Back at The Dispatch, Embrey worked his way through news beats, covering education, police, courts and city hall. He was promoted to an assistant city editor in 1962 and a year later joined The Dispatch’sStatehouse bureau.
Embrey was named Washington bureau reporter in 1966 and became bureau chief in 1971.
“He was a throwback to a better time,” said Hicks, a resident of Columbus’ Northeast Side whose late wife was Embrey’s sister. “You don’t see them anymore. Here’s a guy who started out throwing papers and worked his way up from there to become the Washington bureau chief.”
Embrey gave Hicks and his family a VIP tour of the White House, he recalled, and regaled them with stories about the presidents and other top political figures whom he covered.
“George was quite the storyteller and story-weaver,” Hicks said.
Embrey and his late wife, Anne, had five children.