WASHINGTON (AP) – Barry L. Thumma, a retired Associated Press photographer who covered four presidents, has died. He was 56. Thumma died at home last week (November 25) in Lancaster, Pa., from complications with multiple myeloma. In his 20-year career with the AP, he traveled on more than 100 Air Force One flights to photograph presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. “He was an absolutely focused and dedicated photojournalist,” said Robert Daugherty, an AP photo editor who worked with Thumma.
Thumma began his career in 1967 as a part-time photographer for the Lancaster New Era. He joined the AP in 1973 in Cincinnati, where he covered the Reds and the Bengals.Thumma worked in Columbus, Ohio, for two years as the state’s photo editor before moving to Washington. He retired from the Washington bureau in 1993 after being diagnosed with myeloma, a kind of bone cancer. Daugherty said Thumma kept Lancaster close in his thoughts throughout his Washington tenure. “He’d say, ‘It’s interesting, you come from shooting Amish buggies to shooting politicians in limousines,'” Daugherty said. Thumma graduated in 1965 from Penn Manor High School and attended Millersville University. He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Kathleen Metzger Thumma; their daughters, Autumn of Marietta, Pa., and Meagan of Lancaster; his father, Kenneth Thumma; his brother, Dale, of Los Angeles; his sister, Holly, of Washington, D.C.; and three grandsons.