Funeral held for former WSFA reporter Norman Lumpkin - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Funeral held for former WSFA reporter Norman Lumpkin


Former WSFA newsman Norman Lumpkin became the first African-American journalist at WSFA. Lumpkin died last week at the age of 75.

Today, hundreds said goodbye at Metropolitan United Methodist Church on Rosa Parks Avenue and remembered a legend.

"He was real big on accountability," said nephew Todd Towns.

He was regarded as a friend.

"Norman was the first to open his arms to me and embrace me when he helped me get established in the broadcasting community," said Tracy Larkin.

He was also regarded as a mentor.

"Norman had this innate gift to want to teach young reporters how to report. He took people like under his wings and taught us how to report," said Dean Argo.

Charles Caton is the news director who hired Lumpkin in 1969 for WSFA. At the time Lumpkin was working in Indianapolis. Caton found out very quickly his new reporter had a keen sense of humor.

"I called him at home to tell him we wanted him to come down and work for us. After awhile there was silence on the phone. I thought he had hung up on me. Finally, he said 'okay, if you're serious about this how about sending me a first class air ticket,' Caton told the congregation.

During the funeral we learned Norman Lumpkin knew about stories before they happened. He went on to earn several awards for his reporting for WSFA, especially in the area of investigative reporting.

Despite his knack of finding and telling good stories, Lumpkin had a spiritual side, according to those who knew him.

"The most important thing he did was he gave his life to Christ," said Reverend John E. Brooks.

Mr. Lumpkin left WSFA in 1992 and became News Director for the ABC affiliate in Montgomery. Lumpkin later got out of the news business and served as the spokesperson for the Alabama Department of Transportation in 1999 and eventually retired from DOT.

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