Gazette photographer passes UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Friday, February 19, 2010

Gazette photographer passes UPDATE

Posted By on Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 2:50 PM

unknown.jpg

GENE: In 2007 photo by Johnpaul Jones.

Gene Prescott, a Pearl Harbor survivor, veteran Arkansas Gazette photographer and good guy, died Thursday at 86. Genial and gentle, he was also Marine tough. The family is planning a memorial service March 2. Following is obituary information they provided:

UPDATE: After the family obituary is a piece Doug Smith wrote for an internal Gazette newsletter years ago. Thanks, Michael;

Carroll Eugene "Gene" Prescott, 86, was surrounded by loved ones as he passed away February 18, 2010. Gene was born January 29, 1924 in Okemah, OK. At 17 he joined the United States Marine Corps. He served bravely during WWII, including at the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

After that he became a photojournalist. He worked 4 years for the Fort Smith Times Record and 38 years for the Arkansas Gazette, retiring in 1989. Gene's photos captured history as it happened. He brought us the human side of world leaders, sports figures, and such important stories as the integration of Little Rock Central High. His photos can be seen at the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, the Central High National Historical Site in Little Rock, and the book "25 Years of Arkansas Gazette Photography: 1950-1975," available in the library. His work changed the way we saw the world and each other.

Gene was a member of the Arkansas Pearl Harbor Survivors Association and served as its president for 8 years. He was an active member of Geyer Springs United Methodist Church. Gene loved to make people laugh, made friends everywhere he went, and was devoted to his family. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Ruby; daughters Carolyn Prescott and Marilyn Johnston; granddaughters Kelly Johnston, Ashley Muller and husband Robert, Michelle Hughes and Susan Stampp; great grandchildren Mateos, Robert III, and Brittney; brother Jimmy Prescott and wife Faye; sister Mary Furr; nieces, nephews, and friends. He is preceded in death by his brother Jack and parents John and Ethel Prescott.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. March 2 at Geyer Springs United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to The American Cancer Society or Geyer Springs United Methodist Church.

AND FROM THE ARCHIVES


"From the “Gazette’s Gazette,” an internal newsletter, April  1989
Gene’s Seen it All
By Doug Smith

Carroll Eugene “Gene” Prescott is a native of Okemah, Oklahoma and like millions of hot-blooded  young American men he left high school to fight World War II. He served with the Marine Corps in the Pacific, and is still something of a student of military history, not that he ever dwelled on his own experiences much.

After the war, he needed civilian work. Somebody asked what he’d like to do and he said he’d always wanted to take pictures. That proved a momentous admission.
His first job as a photographer came in 1948 with the Doc Miller Photo Studio in Fort Smith. Miller had the contract to take pictures for the Fort Smith Southwest Times Record, as well, so Prescott learned news photography  too. “I learned it from the ground up,” Prescott says. “I didn’t know nothing about it at all.”

He learned it well enough that in March 1951 he was  hired by the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock, the state’s largest newspaper, though still not so large as to have batteries of lensmen. Prescott replaced another man. That left the Gazette with a full-time photography staff of two – Chief Photographer Larry Obsitnik and Prescott. Obsitnik was already becoming a legend. Prescott would not be far behind. Others came and went over the years, but Prescott and Obsitnik remained the core for a long time. (The Gazette photography department is now 11 shooters strong.)

Prescott may have been a photographer’s photographer too, and photographers thought he was, but for those on the paper who wrote for a living and accompanied Gene on assignments, he was definitely a reporter’s photographer. Friendly, untemperamental, and eager to consult a reporter on what the reporter believed to be the key news elements of a story. He was also a tough cookie when outside forces threatened to complicate the assignment, and many a pencil-necked reporter was grateful for that.

Ask him now about memorable shots, memorable assignments, and it is not surprising that the request is difficult for him. He has been shooting pictures for the Gazette for 38 years; things tend to run together.“I just believe I enjoyed every assignment I ever went on,” he said. “Every one of them was important to me.”

He does remember Orval  Faubus and the school integration crisis of the late ‘50s. “We spent that first year almost every day at Central High.” And he remembers when it was great covering then legislature because a photographer could go where he wanted to. “But I understand the rules and regulations they have now. There are so many photographers. One thing that’s really changed about the media is having so many.”

At 65, Prescott is not sure what he’s going to do in retirement. “It’s going to be an adventure,” he said. “But I’ve treated everything  like an adventure anyhow – or I’ve tried to anyway.”


Prescott and his wife, the former Ruby Evelyn Thompson, have two daughters both living in Houston, and three grandchildren.

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • City plans more spending on 30 Crossing

    The Little Rock City Board meets Tuesday to set an agenda for the following week and among the "consent" items is a new $175,000 with Nelson/Nygaard consultants to "assist with a comprehensive review" of the 30 Crossing project, otherwise known as the bigger concrete ditch the Department of Transportation wants to tear through the heart of Little Rock.
    • Sep 24, 2017
  • NFL owners rise to defense of players against Trump and false patriots

    Many football team owners have risen to the defense of players against Donald Trump criticism as yet another racially fraught issue seems likely to gain increasing heat thanks to Trump's rhetoric.
    • Sep 24, 2017
  • The school crisis at 60: A light show and light cast on the lack of progress

    The 60th school crisis anniversary observance continues with a spectacular light show and some sobering thoughts on just what was accomplished and how much progress has been made in theintervening six decades.
    • Sep 24, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016
  • Another Republican miracle-working governor

    Great piece in Washington Post on the budget crisis in Louisiana. Big tax cuts and corporate welfare will do that to a state, particularly to a state whose previous governor, Republican Bobby Jindal, refused to join the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion. There's a lesson there for Arkansas.
    • Mar 4, 2016
  • Charter school accountability: Non-existent in Arkansas

    A state audit finds charter school spending violated state law, but the state Education Department says it has no responsibility for ensuring proper management of charter schools. Say what?
    • Mar 5, 2016

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation