Chattanooga TV personality Betty Mac dies at 84
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- Betty "Mac" McCullough Thomas, a popular personality on Chattanooga television and radio, died Tuesday at the age of 84.
An Ohio native, Betty moved to Chattanooga in 1947 and quickly became part of the local broadcasting scene. She began at WDOD radio as a receptionist, but soon worked her way up, becoming one of the city's first female radio personalities. She soon switched to WDEF radio, and her show "Mac and Me" aired after Luther Masingill's popular morning program. On the television side, she hosted "Woman's Whirl" and a morning program on Channel 12 in the 1960s. She was a midday host and news reporter for Channel 3 in the 1970s. She also hosted the station's "Dialing for Dollars" afternoon movies.
She was in big demand as a commercial spokeswoman, having developed credibility and trust with local viewers. Style was a big part of her life, and she could always be seen wearing fashionable clothing and jewelry. Culture was close to her heart, and her programs featured work by local artists, writers and entertainers. She also performed in plays at the Chattanooga Little Theater.
After retiring from broadcasting, she served on the Human Rights Commission in Chattanooga.
Her father, the late George Zimmerman became well-known in Chattanooga as one of the last surviving World War I veterans. He marched in the annual Armed Forces Day parade until he was well into his 90s. She also had a stepson, Bill Thomas, a popular disc jockey known as the "Birdman." He worked at radio stations in Chattanooga, Memphis, Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama, where he died of cancer in 1994 at the age of 39.
According to her obituary, Betty is survived by a niece, Mary Frances Darne of Arlington, Va.; a nephew, William Zimmerman of Albuquerque, N.M., and several grand nieces and nephews. Also surviving are step daughters Ruth Sutherland of Shakopee, Minn.; Robin Avery of Nashville, and Roberta Petricek of Wellsburg, W.V.; grandchildren H. David Jones of Shakopee, Minn.; Marcy Jill Avery of San Anselmo, Calif.; Mitchell Lee Thomas of Warner Robins, Ga.; and several great-grandchildren.
As Mrs. Thomas requested cremation, the family would love to welcome you at the visitation this Friday, Feb. 24, at Chattanooga Funeral Home's North Chapel from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The family requests in lieu of flowers that donations be made to their favorite Chattanooga charity in her honor.
Arrangements are by Chattanooga Funeral Home Crematory and Florist, 5401 Hwy 153, Hixson, TN 37343. Share your memories on line at www.chattanooganorthchapel.com.