Retired Palo Alto Times and Peninsula Times-Tribune photographer Ken Yimm passed away Friday, Nov. 11, after suffering a heart attack in his sleep. He had a long history of heart problems. He was 77 years old.
After he was discharged from the Army in 1951, Ken worked for United Press (not yet UPI) and then at the San Francisco News (later the San Francisco News Call Bulletin). He was hired by the Palo Alto Times in the early 1960s where he remained until he retired in the mid-1980s after the Times merged with the Redwood City Tribune making it the Peninsula Times-Tribune. Ken had photographed every president from Eisenhower to Reagan. One of his most famous photos he shot was of a college football player and a hospitalized little girl walking hand in hand at a Shriner's hospital that became the poster photo for the annual East-West Shrine Football Game.
Ken was instrumental in helping Palo Alto Weekly chief photographer Norbert von der Groeben start his career in photojournalism when Norbert was an intern at the Times. As a Times intern, Norbert rode along with Ken on several assignments. Norbert recalled Ken as always being very enthusiastic and friendly on his assignments. Ken was also a mentor to Associated Press photographer Paul Sakuma when Paul was in high school.
Palo Alto's Keeble & Shuchat Photography store owner Terry Shuchat recalled that Ken really enjoyed experimenting with various cameras. He enjoyed buying and selling used cameras and spent a lot of time at his store with cameras. Ken was often seen at camera swap meets and camera stores looking for good deals.
Ken was born in Bakersfield in 1928 and moved to Oakland when he was 14 years old. He received an AA degree from City College of San Francisco and later worked in the photo lab at the San Francisco Presidio, where he was stationed in the Army.
After his retirement he moved to El Dorado County in 1988 with his wife, Judy. He did occasional photo work for the local newspaper, Mountain Democrat. He is survived by his wife and his daughter, Lisa.
A Celebration of Life will be held Sunday, Nov. 20 between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at:
Gallery El Dorado
6180 Pleasant Valley Road (near Pleasant Valley Road & Highway 49)
El Dorado, CA 95623
If you would like to send his wife, Judy, or daughter, Lisa, a card, here is info:
Judy and Lisa Yimm
3036 Balsam Drive
Pollack Pines, CA 95726-9650