Against Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech supported by 103-year-old Jackets fan

A most esteemed patron graced Bobby Dodd Stadium Saturday. Alae Risse Leitch, a 103-year-old Atlantan who has supported Georgia Tech since the early 1920’s, attended the Yellow Jackets game against Vanderbilt in the company of her 89-year-old sister Jo Atchison.

Along with her sister and their husbands, Leitch (her first name is pronounced Al-uh-reese) was a longtime season-ticket holder and a Grant Field fixture for decades, although her attendance has understandably slowed in recent years. She turns 104 on Oct. 1, making her one year older than Tech’s stadium.

Prior to the game, the two sat together in the front row of a suite, sisters whose bond is clear without words.

“It’s a great day,” Leitch said, dressed vibrantly in a gold and white jacket covering a Tech t-shirt, the jacket decorated with two bumblebee brooches.

Atchison reported that her big sister was ready for the game on Friday, dressed out already in Tech gear. In earlier days, the two traveled with their family by train from Toccoa. Their uncle was Red Barron, a two-time All-American in the early 20’s. Atchison remains a faithful attendee to Grant Field. Both have survived their husbands. Leitch is in her 10th decade of supporting the Jackets.

Leitch and Atchison were guests of Susan Johnson, wife of coach Paul Johnson, and sat in her suite. They are friends through Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Buckhead.

“It’s just so nice to have them here with us,” Johnson said.

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