Neil Bowen McGahee

Published 1:24 pm Saturday, December 31, 2022

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Neil Bowen McGahee, 73, passed away December 30,2022 at Macon Navacient Hospital due to complications from pneumonia and congestive heart failure.

Born in Thomaston, Georgia to the late Orine “Tippie” Bowen McGahee Windham and Emory Spears McGahee,

Neil never met a stranger and kept in touch with friends from his early years of attending R. E. Lee in Thomaston.  Neil first developed an interest in photography while attending Georgia South Western College in Americus.  A 1971 History/Political Science graduate he was named 2019 Outstanding GSW Alumni.  He also attended Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY and earned a Master of Art/Mass Communication/Visual from Missouri School of Journalism, Columbia.

Neil began his newspaper photography career in the 1970’s at The Bradenton Herald where he met his wife of 42 years.  He has worked for the Minneapolis Star and Tribune, The Tampa Tribune and the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.  He was one of the early photographers to use only a Leica camera. In later years, he transitioned to writing and editing for Georgia school publications at Reinhardt College, Kennesaw State University and Georgia Institute of Technology.

Over his forty-year career span, Neil reported on war, poverty, refugees, and famine, in Africa, Central America, the Middle East and Haiti.   McGahee wrote and photographed subjects such as homelessness, poverty, disabilities, AIDS, aging, and racial issues capturing ordinary everyday lives of people using black and white images to people and situations.

He received The Oskar Barnack Prize awarded by Leica Press Photo, considered to be the most prestigious award in journalism. The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Nikon World Award and was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Price; runner-up in 1978.

After retiring twice, Neil continued to photograph and report news locally for the Cartersville Daily Tribune and the Cordele Dispatch. During his leisure time, Neil enjoyed spending time in the outdoors hunting game, or fly-fishing as many rivers and streams as he could. “Eventually all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.” Neil McGahee is survived by his wife, Sharon McGahee of Pinehurst, Georgia and son, Zachary McGahee of Cartersville, Georgia.

Services will be held on Wednesday, January 4th, 2023 at Christ Episcopal Church of Cordele, Georgia at 11 am.

In lieu of flowers please make contributions to Christ Episcopal Church Memorial Fund.

Cremation services are being handled by Brannen-Nesmith Funeral Home, Vienna.