Oct. 16—Longtime Appeal editor Robert "Bob" Allen Curry died last month after a short battle with cancer. He was 75.
Chuck Smith, now the public information officer for Sutter County, worked with Curry at the Appeal from 1975 until the end of 1986.
"He was the most competitive person I met in journalism," Smith said. "He was a patient teacher of the art of photo journalism...he once had me hide behind a cop car with my camera while he attempted to get a picture of a murder suspect in an arranged 'perp walk' by Marysville police. He was right that the suspect might try to block his face, and when he did I jumped up and got a clear shot."
Curry's career in journalism spanned more than 45 years, according to his obituary, beginning in his youth as a paperboy for the Appeal-Democrat, then as a staff photographer, a copy editor, and ultimately a news editor for the publication.
"A brilliant writer and editor, Bob had strong convictions about ethics in journalism, which led to his early retirement from the profession in 2004," read his obituary.
Smith said Curry's competitive nature coupled with his great anticipation always produced a great photograph and he wasn't afraid to put himself in the mix to capture the shot.
"Bob had a great eye for a shot, and did not hesitate to put himself in the right place," said Smith.
Of the many stories Smith can recall, he remembered Curry telling him about the time a trainload of army ordnance caught fire and caused dozens of explosions over several hours at the Roseville train yard in 1974.
"Bob Curry got the best photos because he kept haranguing the airplane pilot to drop lower, lower, lower toward the explosions," Smith said.
Another time, Smith recalls Curry telling him that in the camera scrums involving dozens of photographers covering the Juan Corona murder case in 1971, he was not above digging wax out his ear and spreading it across the lenses of competing photographers.
"He had great relationships with local law enforcement and had the first pictures of the gravesites in the Peach orchards where Corona buried his victims," said Smith.
"He made sure to rub that in with the rest of the world's press.
He mentioned a rude gesture he made to the scrum of photographers as he was driven to the gravesites by sheriff's deputies.
His pictures were seen around the world that afternoon."
According to Smith, the only mercy he can recall Curry ever showing a competing photographer was capturing a picture of a photographer from a Yuba City newspaper being assaulted by a former NFL player.
"He had great news sense, great work ethic, and high standards," Smith said. "He developed eye problems that made it difficult to take pictures later in his career, but because he had such a great news sense he was successful in making the switch from providing images to editing copy. He was also just a great human being."
When not in the office, Curry enjoyed bowling and participated in multiple bowling leagues in Yuba City and Stockton.
Curry was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, but spent most of his childhood in Tucson, Arizona, before moving to Marysville in 1957.
He attended Marysville High School and Chico State University where he majored in political science.
He is survived by his wife Linda, his daughter Becky Perry, her husband Justin and their two sons Luke and Austin Perry, who fondly remember him for his sense of humor and love of ice cream.
No public services are planned at this time.