The Obit For Claude Gresham

Outdoors personality Grits Gresham dies | 02/20/2008


Noted outdoors writer and television personality Claude H. “Grits” Gresham Jr., who passed away at age 85 Monday after a lengthy illness, will be remembered as one of the best outdoors communicators ever.

Gresham hosted The American Sportsman on ABC and Shooting Sports America on ESPN, was shooting editor of Sports Afield magazine for 26 years. He wrote eight books but might be most widely known for his role in a series of commercials for Miller Lite beer.

In 2006, he received the only Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which then established, with the Professional Outdoor Media Association, an ongoing Grits Gresham Shooting Sports Communicator award. Among other awards he won are the Winchester Outdoorsman of the Year, Alumnus of the Year in the LSU School of Forestry and Wildlife Management, and he was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the LSU Hall of Distinction. One thing many people might be surprised to learn about Gresham is that, before he began his career in outdoor journalism, he signed a baseball contract with the Chicago Cubs organization.

According to an obituary in The Chattanoogan, President Reagan shared with Gresham a story no one in the national media had heard: When Reagan was a broadcaster in Des Moines, Iowa, he had used a pistol to save a nurse from a mugging. After the story broke, the nurse came forward and confirmed the tale, although she didn’t know until then that the young man who had saved her years before had turned out to be the actor and president.

Funeral services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home in Natchitoches, La. Visitation is scheduled for 5-9 p.m. Thursday.