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Athens Legend William Orten Carlton Has Died

Ort. Credit: Jason Thrasher.

Athens fixture William Orten Carlton died on the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 21 at the age of 73. Ort spent his final days at St. Mary’s hospital and in hospice, where he was surrounded by love through a near-endless parade of visiting friends and admirers. 

A lover of obscure music, an enthusiast of craft beer and a walking encyclopedia of arcane facts, he could often be found holding court in bars, sharing deep cuts of historical and cultural moments with anyone who would listen. A lifelong supporter of alternative radio, he got his start as a DJ at WUOG 90.5 FM, and continued to make many guest appearances over the airwaves. Through his oral histories and decades of written contributions to Flagpole, his curiosity and excitement for Athens culture has led to the town’s deeper understanding of itself.

Flagpole is currently collecting memories, short stories, photos and fan art of Ort from the community. This was something we had hoped to be able to share with him directly, but we will continue forward with the project in hopes that it brings comfort to those who loved him. If you would like to participate, please submit in 150 words or less to by noon on Wednesday, Jan. 25. 

We will share details for a memorial service when they become available.