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Addison Marable, icon of sports community, dies Saturday

Walter “Addison” Marable, first sports editor at The Gazette-Virginian and a noted area coach, umpire, bowler and sports enthusiast and historian, died Saturday at The Woodview.

He was 83.

Marable committed over 65 years of his life to coaching local teams in a number of sports through the course of six decades, including baseball, softball, basketball and football.

He was a charter member of the Halifax County-South Boston Sports Hall of Fame when it was founded in 1988, and he served on the organization’s first board of directors as secretary-treasurer, a post he held until his death, and he was inducted into the Halifax County-South Boston Sports Hall of Fame in 2001. 

He was a member of First Presbyterian Church and a U. S. Army veteran of the Korean Conflict.

He was a charter member of the South Boston Men’s Bowling Association, which was founded in August 1962.

In 1963, he was inducted into the Virginia State Bowling Hall of Fame, and was also a member of the South Boston Bowling Association Hall of Fame.

A South Boston resident, Marable was a student-athlete at C.H. Friend High School playing football and baseball in 1945 and 1946.

Marable helped organize the South Boston Dixie Youth Baseball League when South Boston entered the Dixie Youth Program in 1957, and he coached the Lions team in that league for 35 seasons.

Marable helped start the midget football program at Scottsburg, coaching the Scottsburg team from 1956-1985, and he also coached several Midget basketball teams with the Scottsburg team, the Comets and the Wildcats among them.

He was also well known as a community sportswriter, serving as The Gazette-Virginian’s sports editor for many years, writing sports for 37 years.

Marable began writing sports for The Gazette-Virginian in 1946, and his words and columns spanned four different decades and 32 years.

His columns, “Around the Circuit with Addison Marable,” a column he started in 1955, and his bowling column, “Strikes-N-Spares,” which he began writing in 1957, were fixtures in The Gazette-Virginian.

Marable said in a March 26, 2001 interview, The Gazette-Virginian’s emphasis on sports was many times greater than it was in its early years.

“You would hardly ever see anything on sports in the newspaper,” Marable said.

“But, when Mr. [Lynn] Shelton came to town and bought the newspaper, and we started writing stories on sports, the interest picked up considerably, and we added a little more every year to what we were doing.

“At the same time there were a lot of people who wanted to see sports in the newspaper. And, every young boy and girl likes to see his or her name in the newspaper.”

In addition to his love for sports, Marable also was a member of South Boston Lion’s Club and American Legion Post 8, and he served as a lay minister to many area churches.

Gazette-Virginian Sports Editor Joe Chandler joined the community in mourning the passing of Addison Marable. 

“I have known Addison virtually my entire life and have felt his influence and guidance.

“Addison was among a small circle of people that I consider to have been a mentor to me when I started in the newspaper business many years ago. More than that, I considered him a great friend. He had a huge impact on youth sports in our community, and he touched in a very positive way the lives of all of the young people he coached throughout the years. He loved this community and the people in it. We have all lost a great person and a dear friend.”

A funeral for Marable will be held Sunday at First Presbyterian Church at 2 p.m. with the Rev. Dr. Russell Lee officiating.

Burial will follow in Oak Ridge Cemetery.

The family will receive friends Saturday from 7 until 8:30 p.m. at Powell Funeral Home.