After half a century of capturing the glamour of the University”s history, photographer Bob Kalmbach died earlier this week after many years of suffering from diabetes.
Kalmbach began his tenure at the University as a photographer during the 1950s and was later hired by News and Information Services in 1972.
His portfolio includes photos of Arthur Miller, Walter Cronkite and former presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. Kalmbach has also published photos in Sports Illustrated and National Geographic.
University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said the marks of Kalmbach”s unique vision of the community will always exist.
“In his extraordinary career with the University, he captured the most intimate moments in the University”s life our triumphs or trauma, as well as the joy and accomplishments of individuals in our community,” she said.
Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations Bruce Madej said Kalmbach was a major contribution to the University”s athletic program, as he was responsible for photographing each sports team.
“He was just an individual who could capture action,” Madej said.
Madej said Kalmbach was dedicated to his work and did everything necessary to get the job done well. “He was always a happy guy, always positive he was only a phone call away,” he said.
University Record Executive Editor Jane Elgass said she considered Kalmbach the most affable person she”s ever known.
“We relied on him for virtually everything and he always came through, no matter what our deadline might have been,” she said.
John Woodford, also an executive editor of the University Record, said Kalmbach suffered from diabetes in the latter portion of his life.
“I would say his ailments made it hard for him to get around as he did in the past. Even when part of his leg was replaced because of diabetes, he would hardly ever turn down an assignment,” Woodford said.
Even under difficult conditions such as climbing and bad weather, Kalmbach remained dedicated to his work.
“We would ask him, “You really want to go out there?” and off he would go,” Woodford said.
Last July, Kalmbach”s concerns for his health brought him to retirement. Despite his progressing illness, Kalmbach continued to photograph athletic events until last month.
“The last game he did was the Michigan/Indiana basketball game. He was still working in the middle of January,” Madej said.
Peterson said Kalmbach always touched those around him.
“People may not always realize the images that they have the University are his,” she said. “They will be with us as part of our history, and as a way of remembering where we”ve come from.”