Longtime Johnson City newspaper and studio photographer Eddie LeSueur died Sunday. He was 77.
LeSueur began working at what was then the Johnson City Press-Chronicle on May 22, 1961, and retired Aug. 1, 2002. During his more than 40 years in the newspaper business, he could very likely have met most people in Johnson City, according to several fellow employees who remembered him.
Alan Broyles, now Press information technology director, worked with LeSueur for 20 years in the photography lab.
“He knew everybody,” Broyles said. “And everybody in town knew him.”
Broyles said one of the things about LeSueur he remembered most was he never let anything stop him from getting the photograph he needed to accompany a news story, an invaluable attribute for a photographer. “If there was a fence in the way, he climbed it,” Broyles said. “If there was a river in the way he crossed it. He just always got it done.”
Press City Editor Brad Jolly agreed that LeSueur’s camera lens was always right where it needed to be to capture the story of Johnson City.
“Eddie LeSueur immersed himself in Johnson City,” Jolly said. “For decades he was front and center at events ranging from house fires to commission meetings to bake sales. He believed the community had a unique character that deserved to be documented, and his vivid photographs show that he was right.”
Head Press Photographer Lee Talbert recalled LeSueur as a friend who was always willing to help someone. Talbert said one time, when he was new to the photography department, LeSueur helped him repair his vehicle.
“Eddie looked it over and suggested rebuilding the carburetor, which I didn’t have too much knowledge of,” Talbert said. “He and Bobby Satterfield (another Press employee) and I sat in his garage until about 1 a.m. rebuilding the carburetor, on which Eddie did about all the work. Just did it as a friend. If you needed help, Eddie was there.”
When it came to photography, though, LeSueur was a wealth of information, Talbert said. LeSueur’s family had been in the photography business for many years, owning a studio in downtown that LeSueur had said could be counted among the first businesses in the city.
“With all his years of experience, he had seen about everything anyway,” Talbert said, adding LeSueur could usually point photographers and reporters to a reliable source for just about any particular story. “He was a good source of information.”
But memories about LeSueur encompass more than expert photography skills and mechanical prowess. “Eddie always kept these little 6 1/2 ounce Coca Colas, where he found those I’ll never know,” Talbert said. “And every once in a while he’d treat you to one. Man, they were good.”
A Celebration of Life service for LeSueur will be conducted at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Sunrise Chapel of Tetrick Funeral Services with Pastor Dick Morris and Pastor David Clark officiating. The family will greet friends from 4 p.m. until the service hour at the funeral home. A graveside and committal service will be conducted at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Oak Grove Baptist Church Cemetery. Family and friends are asked to meet at the cemetery no later than 1:50 p.m. Wednesday.