Say Hello to Art & Marty Dees

Oct 18, 2023 | Communities, DeFuniak Springs, Walton & Beyond

Photo pf Art & Marty Dees waving at the camera with a marching band behind them.

By Wendy Dixon

Marty and Art Dees are all smiles as they celebrate homecoming during the Walton High School parade. Art, having broadcast the football games for Walton County from 1980 to 2014, is being inducted into the Walton High School Sports Hall of Fame. “Not for my physical abilities,” he jokes. “Marty deserves the award too, because she had to do the legwork behind the scenes before the games.”

“Back in those days you had to order a telephone line for each of the stadiums,” Marty adds. “It was a lot of front work.”

Art and Marty met at Carson-Newman University (then Carson-Newman College) in Tennessee and married the year Art graduated, Marty graduated the following year. After teaching German for a few years, Art worked in broadcasting at several PBS stations in a half dozen cities throughout the country. They moved to DeFuniak Springs in 1980 and bought local radio station WGTX/WQUH, and later WZEP.

Throughout his career, Art has interviewed hundreds of people. Famous ones include Julia Child, Mr. Rogers, President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter, Dick Cavett, Viola Davis and Joe Scarborough. He’s interviewed a lot of locals, too, including Seaside town founder Robert Davis. “It was a delight,” Art says, recalling frequent phone calls in to the radio station from former Florida Governor Bob Graham. “Bob’s aunt, Ina Thompson, lived here, so he would call in to let her know he was doing a good job.”

Marty, broadcaster and business manager at WZEP, did shifts playing music, hosting professionals on health matters and other topics, including Country Store, a buy-and-sell show. “One of our most memorable items for sale was an artificial left leg,” Marty recalls.

The Dees, who celebrate their 60th anniversary this year, are enthusiastically involved in their church and local service organizations, including the Pilot Club of DeFuniak Springs. Not known to slow down, they keep active as daily walkers and occasional hikers. “We’re motivated by our Fitbits!” Marty says.

Marty and Art are the winners of the October giveaway, which includes a stay at Sunbright Inn and two tickets to Tim Jackson’s Storytellers Tour. “We’re excited to be chosen and are looking forward to seeing the incredible renovations of the Sunbright Inn.”

See Art receive the Hall of Fame award this Friday night at the Walton High School football game.

Home Game, October 20th, 2023 – Starts at 8PM

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