The late Curtis Winchester began working for The Neosho Daily News at the age of 11. He delivered The Daily News and asked the paper’s photographer to teach him the craft. When the photographer died unexpectedly, Winchester stepped into the position with more enthusiasm and determination than training.
Winchester later worked at The Daily News for 10 years, becoming chief photographer. He joined The Tulsa (Okla.) Tribune in 1974. He worked there for eight years before being promoted to chief photographer. When newspapers began publishing color photographs, Mr. Winchester taught himself the process.
In 1972, he engineered the printing of the first color photograph produced by The Daily News. The newspaper could not use color photos every day because of the many hours involved with processing color separations. Winchester produced Sunday photos each week that featured people and scenes from the Neosho area. He spent all day Saturday developing color separations, then remained in the plant until press time at 1 a.m. to make sure the color photos were in sync. These Sunday photographs soon became a popular feature of The Daily News. Mr. Winchester’s Neosho photographs won two first-place plaques in the Missouri Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.
After going to work in Tulsa, he led a redesign of that newspaper and won many awards in the Oklahoma Press Association’s annual contest. Sports photography was one of Winchester’s specialties, and coaching his daughter’s softball team and attending her games were among his passions.
Mr. Winchester died of lymphoma in 1989, a day after his 42nd birthday anniversary. He continued to work at The Tribune and to attend his daughter’s softball games during much of his seven-year battle with the disease.