Steve Deslich, whose passion for photography took him from Ohio to Washington, D.C., to various spots around the globe, died on March 6, 2007, of brain cancer. He was 35, one day short of his birthday. Deslich, of Silver Spring, Md., was managing editor of the McClatchy-Tribune Photo Service, one of the nation¹s foremost photo operations. He is survived by his wife, Kathy; son Benjamin; mother; father, two brothers and a sister.
In his MCT job, Deslich was well-known in Washington photography circles for his work at news and major sports events. He oversaw MCT¹s photo operations at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City (2002) and Turin, Italy (2006).In addition, he was a regular at the Triple Crown horse-racing events and the Breeders’ Cups. He also worked at various Super Bowls and NCAA Final Fours and political conventions.
“Steve really liked his job,” says MCT Photo Service Director Harry Walker. “He was more than dedicated. It was part of him. Steve enjoyed his profession like no one else I have come across. He worked long, hard days in his administrative roll and would take time from his personal schedule to shoot photos to help improve the photo service.”
His interest in photography was nurtured early. “He got his first camera about age 6 or 7 years old,” said his mother, Sheila Deslich, of Charleston, W.Va. He was inspired to pursue photography by an uncle, and in high school a teacher fostered Steve’s interest in art and photography, his mother said.
From there he was off to the Ohio Institute of Photography in Dayton. With degree in hand, he landed a photography job at his hometown Piqua (Ohio) Daily Call. After three years there, he headed to the Tribune Chronicle in Warren, Ohio, where he met his future wife. “We met through friends,” Kathy Deslich said. “But Steve got tired of waiting for our friends to set us up, so he did it himself.”
That taking-care-of-business attitude led him to propose to her on the day he moved from Warren to Washington to take a job as photographer for Thomson Newspapers, the publisher of the Tribune Chronicle. After two years working for Thomson, Deslich was hired as a photo editor for Knight Ridder/Tribune Photo Service, now McClatchy-Tribune.
Charles Borst, then KRT’s director of photography and now head of photography at the Fredericksburg (Va.) Free Lance-Star, said it was his “enthusiasm and passion for editing” that led him to hire Deslich. “He just found fun and excitement in everything he did. He always loved photography, and his love for photojournalism was rare.”
That love of family and photography also extended to his other passions: the outdoors (hiking, skiing and boating) and music, especially Bruce Springsteen.
Deslich’s easy-going Midwestern style earned him genuine respect with photo editors around the country. Said Clem Murray of the Philadelphia Inquirer: “He was the epitome of a gentleman … in a very egotistical business.” Andrew Johnston, photo editor, Chicago Tribune, added, “Steve was always a real pro to work with.”
Ron Garrison, the visuals editor at the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, said, “Steve was one of the good guys in our business. He’ll be missed not only as a fine picture editor and photographer, but for me I’ll miss him as much for his soft-spoken wit and gentle sense of humor. As we gather at Churchill
Downs this May, Steve will certainly be on our minds and in our hearts.”
Though he lived inside the Capital Beltway, Deslich’s roots were firmly planted in the Midwest. As MCT Entertainment Editor John Price recalls, “His career may have taken Steve out of the Midwest, but it never took the Midwest out of Steve. I always got the impression that, under the right circumstances, he would have been happy to chuck it all and move back to Ohio.”
© 2007, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Many of you have asked how can you help Steve Deslich’s family.
We at MCT have established a fund to present to Kathy, Steve’s wife. We hope this money will be used to help with their 14-month-old son Benjamin’s education, but also reserve the right not to solely restrict the funds for educational use.
Kathy will determine the best use of the money. If you know Kathy, you can rest assured that she will do what is best for Benjamin, just as she did for Steve.
To contribute to the MCT fund, make checks payable to Mary Brenner. Be sure to note “Deslich Memorial Fund” in the memo field of your contribution and send to:
Business and Operations Manager
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
700 12th Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20005
Please send donations by April 13th, 2007.
Thank you in advance for your support.