WTVY's first on-air African American talent laid to rest Tuesday

MARIANNA, Fla. (WTVY) — Family and friends sang the praises of a former WTVY reporter before he was laid to rest today.

Hundreds gathered Tuesday at the Evangel Worship Center in Marianna to remember Tommie Speights.

He was WTVY's first African American reporter- a valued member of our team during the 70's and 80s' as the Northwest Florida Bureau Chief for 15 years.

He passed away Friday after a battle with lung cancer at the age of 72.
Speights leaves behind his wife Lilly and their three children Shelia, Ronald, and MaRisa...

Lillie Speights, his wife says:
"And I know that he is safe in the arms of Jesus and some may feel that he left too soon but God has been good to him.. He was able to have top positions without having to do anything.. He was just one of them old people that God had a hold on."

MaRisa Speights Russ, his daughter says:
"Lord I thank you for giving me, for blessing me with the best father, best father anybody could ever want."

Speights was laid to rest at the Orange Hill cemetery in Marianna.