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Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Gary Haynes, 76, has died

Gary Haynes, a distinguished photojournalist who assembled and directed a team of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographers at The Inquirer in the 1970s and '80s, has died at 76.

Haynes was found Friday morning at his home in San Francisco after family and friends could not reach him by phone. The medical examiner's office there said Haynes died of natural causes that were still being determined.

"Almost overnight, he brought the paper into modern photojournalism," recalled Gene Roberts, the Inquirer editor who hired Haynes away from the New York Times in 1974. "He brought in a whole new wave of photographers."

Two of Haynes' hires won Pulitzer Prizes for covering violence in El Salvador and the homeless in Philadelphia. A third prize, for coverage of the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster, went to the staff.

Clem Murray, now a senior Inquirer photographer, remembered Haynes' uncanny ability to "find the picture within the picture" -- cropping it to find the most important, dramatic element for readers.

"Gary was a big personality with big ideas," Murray said. "He pushed us to be creative and do whatever it took to capture 'The Moment.' "

A native of Salinas, Kan., Haynes got his first job behind a camera during a two-year stint in the Army. But his career really took off in 1958, when the 23-year-old Kansas State University journalism graduate was hired by United Press International in Detroit.

He spent the turbulent 1960s documenting the civil rights movement, anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, space launches, the Tokyo and Mexico City Olympics, the World Series, presidential campaigns, and the upheaval after President John F. Kennedy's assassination.

Decades later, after Haynes retired, he was given special access to the UPI photo archives. He provided a precious window on late 20th-century history with the resulting 2006 book, "Picture This!: The Inside Story and Classic Photos of UPI Newspictures."

At The Inquirer, he used his gift for storytelling and for getting the best out of his "shooters" to make sure visual elements were given the same prominence and space as text.

"Gary was always an easygoing person, but a fierce advocate for photography and graphics," said Gene Foreman, the paper's former longtime managing editor.

Haynes also loved to have fun. At one well-attended party where he ran out of ingredients for his specialty drink, the daiquiri, he "had an inspiration," Roberts said. "He created refried-bean daiquiris."

"He was just a big kid; he didn't act his age," said Haynes' son, Philip. "He was really smart, kind, loving, and adventurous."

In addition to his son, Haynes is survived by two daughters, Stephanie and Emily.

Funeral arrangements were not yet complete.

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