Offenburger, Former SCLC Spokesman, Aide to Andrew Young, Dead at 52
ATLANTA (AP) _ Tom Offenburger, an aide to Mayor Andrew Young and a former spokesman for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, died Wednesday at the age of 52.
Offenburger, Young’s chief of communications, died at Emory University Hospital, where he had undergone surgery Monday to replace two valves in his heart, said hospital spokeswoman Judy Smith.
Offenburger left U.S. News and World Report in 1966, where he had worked for 10 years, to become director of public relations at the SCLC, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. served as director.
In 1972, Offenburger began a 14-year career as an aide to Young, who served as a congressman and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations before becoming mayor in 1982.
″He’s been an extremely valuable asset in my life personally, and to the city and to the nation over the last 25 years or more,″ Young said.
Coretta Scott King said Offenburger was one of the civil rights movement’s ″most trusted and loyal members.″
″He traded an extremely promising career as a journalist for a ‘season of suffering’ that turned into long years of dedicated service in Congress, the United Nations and city hall, as well as in the movement,″ she said.
A memorial service was scheduled for Thursday at 9:30 a.m. at Freedom Hall Auditorium at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. Speakers will include Young, Mrs. King and members of Offenburger’s family.