Date: Fri, May 5, 2000 2:12 AM EDT
Dear SFBAPPAers,Retired United Press International photographer Sam Mikulin passed away on Friday, April 14 due to pneumonia and other complications. He was 75 years old, a veteran of 40 years with UPI Newspictures. He is survived by three daughters and a granddaughter.Same was a lifelong photo enthusiast taking pictures and developing them in his basement darkroom before he was a teenage. The army drafted him in early 1943, but he was positive they wouldn’t keep him because he had a bad case of asthma. Boarding a train to boot camp he said “I’ll be back home in two week”. Three years later – having served in General Patton’s 11th Armored Division as an infantryman meriting an infantry medal and bronze star in the Battle of the Bulge – he was back home.With the war behind him he entered San Francisco Jr. College, took a side course in shorthand which eventually got him a job with the San Francisco Daily News as a secretary. This gave him a chance everyday to go up to the sixth floor and talk with the fellows at the prestigious ACME Newspictures (Later UPI Photos) about photography. In a few weeks he was hired and was given credentials as a photographer. A few months later the chiefs in New York soon notice his talent and intelligence, offering him a managerial position as they came up around the country. But Sam’s desire was to do his job only in San Francisco, turning all other offers down.Sam covered many Olympics, World Series, Super Bowls, riots, political elections and what-not working a lot of night shifts, he liked to cook his own meals in the spare darkroom. The managers made him stop because the lingering essence of gourmet cooking overflowed well into he morning shift. A stringer introduced him to kimchee, the Korean preserved cabbage. He liked it, so he stored some in his locker located in the film darkroom. The aroma didn’t bother the staff too much but the managers kept complaining about the strong smell of hypo.Sam once took an aptitude test in college, the result of which was that he was best suited to be a comedian. The San Francisco was a fun bureau to work in and he was a big part of it. He coach dozens of stringers coming through and they all went their way around the Bay Area with a smile on their faces and a good background of news coverage. (Stringers such as Lou Dematteis, Lloyd Francis, John Green, Martin Klimek, Andy Kuno, Rod Lamkey, Bob and Fred Larson, Doug Menuez, Terry Schmitt, Blake Sell, John Storey to name a few)Instead of flowers, the family requests donations to:Disabled American VeteransP.O. 14301 Cincinnati, OH 45250Letters or cards can be sent to Sam’s family:Mary Mikulin (Sam’s daughter)206 St. Catherine Dr.Daly City, CA 94015Or call (650) 755-4053Charlie BlagdonUPI email@example.com
Excepts from the Oakland Tribune edition Wednesday, Nov. 19, 1997. By Harry Harris and Laura Counts
Well-known television new cameraman Lou Calderon, who risked his life many times to film everything from earthquakes to riots, was found dead Tuesday morning, an apparent drowning victim. A man working on boats at the Ballena Isle Marina in Alameda discovered Calderon’s body floating near the docks about 10 a.m. Calderon, 64, had been living on his boat at the marina and may have fallen from a dock, police said. He retired from KRON-TV, where he was best known for his work as an aerial photographer. Before that, he made his reputation as a fearless, caring news cameraman while working at KGO, KPIX and KTVU. He started his career as a photographer at the Alameda Times-Star more than 40 years ago. “He was the best aerial photographer I’ve ever worked with,” said Will Prater, a helicopter pilot who spent thousands of hours in the air with Calderon in KRON’s Telecopter 4. “We wore out three helicopters together. We got into situations that were life-threatening to the max, and he had no lack of courage.” Prater said Calderon saved numerous lives during his many hours in the air, including spotting a little boy lost in the Oakland hills and locating the flare from a sunken yacht the Coast Guard couldn’t find during “as bad a storm as you’d ever want to see.” Calderon and Prater provided the coordinates to the Coast guard and 10 people were saved – including two other KRON photographers. Alameda County Sheriff Charles Plummer said he first met Calderon during the University of California, Berkeley turmoil of the 1960s when Plummer was a Berkeley police command officer dealing with protesters and Calderon was filming the riots. “He’s a real loss,” Plummer said. “He was like a combat photographer. He had ice water in his veins. He had no fear.” He said he saw Calderon get injured at the demonstrations, but that it did not deter him from doing his job. “We all felt like he was one of us,” Plummer said. Calderon “was very objective,” the sheriff added. “He was there to do a story, not take a shot at you and not make up stuff.” Ed Leslie, a highly regarded, long time KGO reporter now retired, worked with Calderon at the station for more than 10 years. He said Calderon “was one of the industrious journalists I ever worked with. Not only did he take the pictures, but he set up all the sources. “He had such a rapport with law enforcement and other sources that when I worked with him, the assignment was all laid out. He did everything.” KTVU news director Fred Zehnder, who worked with Calderon while he was an assignment editor at KPIX in the 1960s, said not only was Calderon a great cameraman, but an exceptional newshound as well. “I remember that he had an uncanny sixth sense about news,” Zehnder said. “It was like he could smell a news story.” After retirement, Calderon turned to the artistic side of his craft, displaying his stunning aerial shots in several exhibits and a book. Though his years as a video photographer he never gave up still photography. Calderon is survived by his son Tracy, also a photographer, and a daughter, Leslie. Funeral arrangements are pending.