Seymour Snaer

retired Examiner photographer for 17 years, died at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley after a short illness. Mr. Snaer was 86. Mr. Snaer, an only child, was born in Oakland. He received a bachelor's degree from UC-Berkeley in 1933, and worked as a freelance photographer from 1936 to 1943. In 1937, Mr. Snaer took the first natural action shots of a track meet for the New York Mirror, according to Who's Who in California. Mr. Snaer joined the Examiner in 1943 and remained there until his retirement in 1978. In one of his prize-winning photos, titled "I'll be OK, Mom," Mr. Snaer captured a poignant moment in 1952 as a Marine sitting in a wheelchair leaned forward to embrace his mother upon his return from the Korean War. One of his photos, of a terrorist bombing at a San Francisco church in the 1970s, is included in "10,000 Eyes," a book published by the American Society of Media Photographers. Flora Snaer said her husband happened by chance to be in a perfect position to take that picture, after someone shooed him toward the sidewalk. He was there to take photos of a policemen's funeral. When the bomb exploded in the doorway, all the other photographers had to turn away and shelter themselves from the flying debris. Not Seymour. "He got the picture," Flora Snaer said. Mr. Snaer was also known for his Kodachrome color photographers for the 1939 World's Fair, which took place on Treasure Island. Denise Snaer-Gauder, Mr. Snaer's 43-year-old daughter, remembers serving as a "model" in some of her father's staged newspaper photographs when she was young. In one photo, she was the little girl hanging up her Christmas stocking. In another, she was playing in a schoolyard while a suspicious-looking man lurked nearby. Snaer-Gauder said her father was always ready to dash off in an instant to get a photo. He left his police scanner on all night, so he could hear any news bulletins as they were announced, and he always drove around with a couple of cameras in the car. Fran Ortiz, a retired Examiner photographer, said Mr. Snaer befriended him when he joined the staff as a rookie in 1962. Ortiz remembered the days the two photographers covered the Free Speech Movement at UC-Berkeley in the late 1960s. "It was war on Telegraph Avenue, and there was Seymour, right in the thick of it, getting remarkable images," Ortiz said. Ortiz described Mr. Snaer as a "true professional," someone who used his creativity and talent to make many memorable photographs - on deadline. "He was an inspiration to me," he said. Ortiz also remember Mr. Snaer's keen sense of humor. "In my image of him, Seymour always has a smile on his face and a pipe in his hand," he said. In addition to his wife, who lives in Moraga, and daughter Denise, who lives in Berkeley, Mr. Snaer is survived by three grandchildren, ages 10, 12 and 26. Another daughter Mary Forest, died in 1983. Send letter of condolence to: Mrs. Flora Snaer 42 Sea Pines Moraga, CA 94556 Or you can call her at (510) 376-8364


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