Don Carey, a longtime Times Leader photographer known for his love of shooting nature and outdoor subjects, died Sunday.
He was 75.
Carey, who retired from the paper several years ago, was known and admired by colleagues and the community for his skill as a photographer, especially notable because of a disability which affected the use of his hands.
Longtime Times Leader lifestyles reporter Mary Therese Biebel recalled a stormy day when she and Carey arrived together at an assignment in a banquet facility in Scranton.
“As I was shaking sleet off my coat I remarked to a bystander, “Whew! I’m glad Don drove us here!”
The bystander grabbed her elbow, leaned in and whispered, “You mean he can drive?”
“I blinked and remembered that, oh yes, a casual observer would notice that Don had been born with arms that were shorter than most people’s arms,” Biebel said. “But once people got to know Don, I don’t think they noticed that anymore.”
One of Carey’s favorite subjects to photograph was nature, Biebel said, and he liked to hike, go boating, ride a bicycle and go cross-country skiing.
“One summer weekend, years ago, he was part of a group of four or five co-workers from the Times Leader newsroom who went camping at Hickory Run State Park. We noticed with horror that some young people at a nearby campsite were pouring lighter fluid on their campfire and the flames were shooting high into the air,” Biebel recalled.
“Don walked over and gave them a lesson in fire safety,” she said. “He knew his way around a campfire.”
When the pair went hiking together, which they did a lot in the 1990s, “I was more likely to notice that he was striding confidently ahead of me down a trail, stepping from stone to stone to cross a brook, or sloshing right through a muddy patch,” Biebel recalled.
“If he saw that I was moving more gingerly, he’d tease me with a somewhat gruff, ‘Don’t be such a candy-ass, Mar,’” she said.
“I remember it fondly, like a term of endearment from an older brother,” Biebel added. “It was a privilege to work with Don, and to be his friend.”
Fellow photographer Charlotte Bartizek recalled Carey as “the consummate photo perfectionist” who “won a heck of a lot of photo journalist prizes over the years,”
“Don was one of the funniest persons to work with in the TL photo department and had us laughing through some sad situations. He was an inspiration to the disabled and anyone who saw him work, drive his car and ride his bike,” Bartizek added.
Times Leader photographer Aimee Dilger said that Carey was well-liked and that people in the community frequently have asked how he was doing in retirement.
“Don was a great sports and wildlife photographer,” Dilger said. “He always came back with a unique moment or great peak action shot.”
She also recalled Carey taking an interest in her progress when she started at the paper, offering advice and guidance about assignments.
“He loved to talk about his nephews and go out fishing with them,” Dilger said. “He will be greatly missed by those who knew him.”
A death notice for Carey, of Bear Creek, appears in Tuesday’s paper. A full obituary will appear in Wednesday’s editions.