Colleagues of Richard "Dick" Kraus, a longtime Newsday photographer who died Oct.11 of complications from double pneumonia, remembered him fondly for his camaraderie, patience and willingness to mentor young photographers.
The South Setauket resident, dubbed "Krausie" by those who knew him, spent an award-winning 42-year career with the newspaper. He was 88.
John Keating, Newsday’s director of multimedia newsgathering, paid tribute to Kraus and remembered his work for the company through his retirement in 2002.
"Dick was a meticulous professional, and is responsible for creating many classic Newsday images," Keating said in a statement. "He covered everything from the Woodstock Music Fair to the Avianca plane crash. Dick was also an innovator, and was a big part of the company’s transition to color photography in the 1980s."
Kraus was born Nov. 24, 1932, in Hempstead. He graduated from Hempstead High School before enlisting in the U.S. Navy in the early 1950s and being stationed in Italy.
After leaving the Navy, Kraus held various jobs before getting into photography. He worked at John Drennan photography studio, which employed photographers whose work was sold to area newspapers, according to several colleagues.
In 1960, Kraus was hired as a photographer at Newsday, where The Press Photographers Association of Long Island later honored him with the Best-In-Show award for one of his photographs in 1964, among the many plaudits he received throughout his career.
Over the decades, Kraus rose through the ranks at Newsday and became a photo editor.
Stan Wolfson, a longtime photographer and photo editor at the paper, was a friend and colleague of Kraus’ for many years.
Wolfson on Wednesday called Kraus a "caring, considerate person," saying he loved fishing in his spare time when he wasn’t working for the tight-knit photo department.
"Dick was always someone who was concerned and understanding and helpful," Wolfson said. "Working with him on the job was great. You knew you had his support there, he had you covered and you had him covered. There were some major events at the time where the additional help on the job from him was extremely helpful."
Chris Hatch, 69, of Milford, Connecticut, a former photographer for Newsday, said he worked with Kraus in the early 1980s. He credited Kraus for helping him develop his skills as a young photographer, describing his mentor as "very insightful" and a "real comrade in arms."
"It was a great experience and Kraus was a big part of that," Hatch said. "Dick made it wonderful for everybody, especially newcomers and interns. He took them under his wing."
Dave Pokress, 68, of Farmingdale, a photography specialist at Newsday, knew Kraus for 30 years.
Pokress said Kraus was "part of a generation at Newsday that just absolutely adored the newspaper and believed in its mission and believed that what we did every day was important, and that’s to inform and educate the readers. Dick took that responsibility seriously."
Upon retiring, Kraus founded what became affectionately known as "The Dinosaur Club," where he and senior or retired Newsday photographers met for breakfast, usually at a diner in Commack, to catch up with each other and sometimes reminisce on old "war stories" from the daily grind of the newsroom.
Kraus met his fiancee, Barbara Luberoff, of South Setauket, 21 years ago through a personal ad she placed looking to meet someone who could dance. On their first date, however, Luberoff said that to her surprise, Kraus admitted he wasn’t much of a dancer.
"He took it like, ‘We’ll dance through life together,’ but he never thought of really dancing, so that was quite a story," Luberoff said with a chuckle. "But he was willing to learn to dance … and he loved it. We used to go dancing every Friday night. We traveled a lot, and we just had a good life. He was very happy."
Kraus is survived by Luberoff and four children from a previous marriage: Douglas Kraus, of Santa Ana, California; Matthew Kraus, of Los Angeles; Naomi Lambert, of East Northport; and Elizabeth Kraus-Vann, of San Pedro, California. A memorial service was held Thursday at Mount Ararat Cemetery in Lindenhurst.