When World War II veteran Thomas H. Maguire first began working as a Newsday photographer in 1947, his salary was too low for him to buy one of the brand-new, $8,000 Levittown homes that marked the start of suburban development on Long Island.
He was eventually able to afford a home in Garden City in 1961, but long before that and long afterward, he spent his life helping to chronicle much of the region's early history and growth in pictures.
Maguire, an award-winning photographer and a mentor to many photographers during his 41-year career, died Saturday at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola at 88. He had pulmonary fibrosis.
"Tom was known as Father Maguire in the photo department," said Stan Wolfson, a former Newsday photographer who knew him for more than 40 years. "He was already there when I first came.
"In those days, we were able to go out to dinner - share assignments," said Wolfson, of East Northport. "We used to have wonderful exchanges. He made you feel warm and welcome."
Born in Flatbush, Brooklyn, Maguire interrupted his studies at St. John's University to serve as an Army Air Forces sergeant, working as a cryptographic technician in China, India and Burma. After the war, he met his future wife, Therese Salzman, at St. John's, and began his career as a journalist and photographer.
Daughter Regina Kirshbaum said, "He was so passionate about work. His passion was only usurped by his passion for teaching. He was a mentor to many photographers."
Maguire spent many of his nonworking hours involved in journalism and photography. He was a founder and first president of the Long Island chapter of the National Press Photographers Association, and wrote a photography column.
Maguire's portfolio included a 1957 picture of rescued 7-year-old Benjamin Hooper Jr., whose 24-hour ordeal in a 21-foot well in Manorville became a national story. Maguire also shot the first day of integrated classes at a Westbury elementary school in the 1960s, the construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and Nassau Coliseum, and celebrities such as Twiggy and Marilyn Monroe. He retired in 1988.
Kirshbaum said her father often brought home photos he shot of famous people. But he wanted her to keep things in perspective. "I'd get so excited, and he'd say, 'Just remember, none of these people are as special as you are,' " she said.
Kirshbaum said the family is establishing a scholarship in his name at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where his daughter, Debbie Stendardi, works.
In addition to his wife, Therese, of Garden City, and daughters Kirshbaum, of Stamford, Conn., and Stendardi, of Rochester, Maguire is survived by a son, Thomas P., of Syracuse, and four grandchildren.
Viewings are at Fairchild and Son funeral home in Garden City Sunday from 7 to 9 p.m. and Monday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Mass is 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Joseph's Church in Garden City. Burial follows at Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury.