The obituaries are becoming one of the first things I look for in our paper. As a man ‘of a certain age’ I look for them now to see if I knew anyone in there. And increasingly I am seeing former customers. For awhile now I have kept a list of past customers and company reps who worked with me. (I’ll post it at the end of this entry.) Most of the time I recognize the person from the obituary photo. Sometimes I recognize the name, or think I do. Sometimes I have to be reminded from another long-time friend that I may have missed someones passing. But every time I feel a twang. Sometimes it is deep remorse. Someone passed who I will miss. Sometimes its just a small sad remembrance. But each one pulls a small thread. The small thread that connects all of us. Threads that go back through time to my early days at Taylors. Maybe it was some connection to Gunnison and my father. Or maybe it was someone whom I should have known better. Should have spent more time with. Its hard to say anymore. As I age and memories come fast and furious, often I mix up times and people. I will almost certainly see people give me a long look as we pass on the street. They obviously know me, but I may not recognize them anymore. Too many years away from retail and the life in front of people. Too much time in the oil field away from real society. Sometimes a person I recognize will recognize me also. We may nod and smile. Or actually greet and shake hands. Rarely will I know their name, unless they tell me. Jenny will ask who that was, and I’ll say CFTS. Code for ‘customer from the store’. She knows what it means. The threads are getting more tenuous and thinner by the year.
Photographers Remembered – Some are passed-some are not. I may have missed obits if they have passed.
Guy Stephens owned Stephens Sporting Goods on Main Street, downtown Grand Junction. He employed LeRoy Wyler as his photo salesman. Classic guy. Unkempt, brash. He was a packrat. The counters were cluttered and unorganized, But he knew where everything was!
Al Ligrani was a local pro photographer. He was the first pro photographer to come in to GT and assist me with knowledge. Mid 80’s.
Wes Edfast. Owner of a local mortuary. A very serious customer. Later in life came in after he had a stroke. Could barely speak but I could feel he really wanted to have another photo conversation.
Gene Bruce. One of my mentors. Was manager right before I took over in ‘85. Thin and wiry. Very energetic. We had a mercurial relationship. After he quit GT he started a home business developing E6 and BW.
Frank Bietz. Another classic old timer. I worked with Frank for decades. Another unkempt, brash salesman, like Wyler. Occasionally would upset customers with his direct delivery. Was one of Genes first hires in the late 60s. Midwest Camera Supply. Passed Oct 2013.
Hans Kunz. German to the core. Tons of knowledge. A leader of one of the local photo clubs.
Gil Wenger. Great customer. Would walk in and greet us at the counter with a yodel. Later also had a stroke. Never made it out of the hospital.
Bob Bishop. Local pro. Had a very successful postcard and poster business during the 70’s and 80’s. Digital cameras killed his business in the 90’s. Now has Alzheimer’s. (2009)
Bob Grant. Longtime head photographer for Daily Sentinel. Tried to get Mt. Garfield in every one of his shots. One of my earliest customers
Dr. Morales. Local dr. big time enthusiast. Would be constantly looking for the next best camera body. Gear head. Lots of fun.
Rich Martineau. Mr. and Mrs. Photo. Short time in GJ. Cancer took him quickly.
Doc Ross. Avid photographer and very good. Incorporated his photography into his Veterans assistance. Won some awards too. Passed November 2012.
Herb Saunders. PVC Communications. Local commercial photographer and developer. Especially Cibachromes.
Dillard Jenkins. Commercial photographer. Was City Markets in-house ad photographer until they sold out to Kroger.
Dave Canady. Studio 119. Classic, big guy. Enthusiastic and genuine. Was very sharing with information.
Matt Chambers. Ran a small photo business/portrait studio for years. Always happy and fun to be around. Very involved with Scouts. Just an all-around nice guy. Passed July 2010.