Friday July 19th, 2024 10:44AM

Legendary Northeast Georgia broadcaster, executive passes away

By Access WDUN Staff

A legendary name and voice for North Georgia radio and broadcasting and many community organizations has passed away this week.

Almond "Red" Healan passed away at his home in Winder on Tuesday, June 11, at the age of 96.

Healan's obitiuary with Memorial Park Funeral Home this week notes that "Red" was an early pioneer of radio broadcasting and started his career playing live radio music in the 1940's.  He was known as a popular radio personality during that time as part of the musical duo, Red and Leon, in Athens Georgia, on WRFC. 

As he advanced in radio, he was known for promoting the careers of many up-and-coming country and gospel artists of the time.  He was a founding member of the Country Music Association and was honored on stage at the Grand Ole Opry in 2010 for his contributions to the field of country music and radio. 

By the mid-1960s, Red was known throughout northeast Georgia as a popular radio host and broadcaster.  He spent many Saturdays in the press box with his friend Ed Thilenius, calling the University of Georgia football games, and was an avid Dawg fan, attending home games so long as he was able. 

In 1966, Red would leave his Vice President position at WRFC in Athens to become Manager and Executive Vice President of WGGA radio.  Red’s voice would be known over the airways in both Athens and Gainesville for several decades. 

Red Healan was also a colorful and animated announcer for the stock car races at the old Athens Speedway.  This would lead to a role in the 1970s movie, Greased Lightening, where he played himself as the racetrack announcer. 

Later he would open his own business, Sterling Business Brokers, purchasing and selling radio stations across the southeast.  He was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in the late 1990s.  After retiring from radio and broadcasting, Red would hold his “retirement job” with his friends at Greene Ford in Gainesville. 

In addition to being a pioneer in broadcasting and a radio personality, Red was known in his community of Gainesville, as a businessman, community leader and advocate, as well a servant to others as he held many leadership roles in both professional and community service, including President of the Georgia Association of Broadcasters, Board of Directors for the Boys Club, Governor and President of the North Georgia Civitans, Board of Directors for the Salvation Army, the Northeast Georgia Ad Club, and many other local and state associations. 

Red was also a member of Saint Paul United Methodist Church in Gainesville, actively involved for over 50 years, serving in roles such as Sunday School teacher, lay speaker, lay leader, Chairman of the Stewardship and Finance Committee, official Board Chairman, and many other roles, as well as unofficial member of the choir.  

Future funeral arrangements for Almond "Red" Healan will be throught the Memorial Park Funeral Home in Gainesvlle.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: gainesville, Athens, University of Georgia, Georgia Association of Broadcasters, WGGA
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