Pulitzer Prize winner, MSLGroup Atlanta founder Goodwin dies at 97

George Goodwin established what would become MSLGroup's Atlanta office in 1965.

George Goodwin
George Goodwin

ATLANTA: George Evans Goodwin Jr., the founder of what became known as MSLGroup’s Atlanta office and a Pulitzer Prize winner, died on Wednesday. He was 97.

Goodwin opened the New York-headquartered Bell and Stanton Public Relations office in Atlanta in 1965, according to an obituary released by MSLGroup. The firm would later be renamed Manning, Selvage & Lee, then MS&L Worldwide, and eventually MSLGroup.

He didn’t retire until 2005, when he was 88 years old, following the death of his wife, to whom he was married for 65 years.

Called a "public relations trailblazer" whose "quiet influence helped guide [Atlanta] into becoming an economic powerhouse and major population center" in the obituary, Goodwin’s career began in journalism. He worked for both The Atlanta Georgian and The Atlanta Journal. His coverage ranged from the premiere of Gone with the Wind to a series on voting fraud that won him a Pulitzer Prize in journalism for distinguished local reporting.

His presence in the community included chairmanships and trusteeships, and he sat on boards of directors for various institutions, according to the agency. Goodwin was also a sponsor of a dinner honoring Martin Luther King Jr. in Atlanta after he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

"George Goodwin was a true example of a life well-lived. Everything George did mattered -- from the stories he covered, clients he guided, organizations he supported, and most importantly, the relationships he built with people," said Kyle Farnham, MD of MSLGroup in Atlanta. "He will always be remembered as the ‘dean of public relations in the city of Atlanta,’ and we are fortunate that his legacy is linked with ours."

Goodwin is survived by his two sons, their wives, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild, according to the company’s statement.

This story was updated on January 22 with comments from Farnham.

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