Saying goodbye is hard to do

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By Carol A. Clark

No one wants him to go. Not the newsroom, not management, not anyone in the building, and when Gary Warren picks up his camera and leaves the Monitor for the last time July 5, the loss to his colleagues and friends will be deeply felt. While some comfort is derived from knowing he will be near his beloved family, it doesn’t make it easier to see him go.

Warren has been chief photographer for the Monitor since 2000. He and his wife Marilyn are moving to Denver, leaving staff in place to manage day-to-day operations of their retail store, Village Arts. Marilyn will travel back monthly.

Warren leaves a proud legacy at the newspaper and across Los Alamos.

“I have been involved in newspapers and publishing for more than 35 years and I can state that Gary is in the top three of photographers that I have known,” said Los Alamos Monitor Publisher Ralph Damiani. “His eye for the child’s smile or the color reflecting from the sun off an object are simply spectacular. He is a rare commodity and there are no words to say how much he will be missed here.”

County Council Chairman James Hall agreed. “My first reaction is, ‘How in the world are you all ever going to replace him?’” Hall said. “Gary’s been a fixture in this community and I think he’s a great photographer who manages to capture the essence of the shot without being intrusive. His work always adds to the story. I admire Gary and want him to know that he’s going to be missed.”

County Administrator Max Baker praised the Warrens for their contributions. “The community will certainly miss the talents of both Gary and Marilyn and we wish them the very best in their new adventure in Denver,” Baker said. “Gary has always brought a real positive attitude to his work at the Monitor and I think the community has enjoyed those outcomes for a number of years. I wish them well.”

Los Alamos National Bank President Steve Wells thanked Warren for documenting local history. “Gary has captured more of what has happened in and around Los Alamos in his photos than anyone could experience in a lifetime,” Wells said. “We’ll have great memories and we certainly hope he does, too.”

Business leader Denise Lane added, “Indeed, I am sad to see both Gary and Marilyn go. I have always loved the fact that Gary understood Los Alamos so well. He captured some of the sweetest and most heartwarming photos of Los Alamos. He feels the pulse of the community and he captures it, over and over again in pictures. He has told the story of small town life eloquently.”

Fire Chief Douglas MacDonald addressed Warren’s professional dedication. “They say a picture is worth a thousand words and therefor you have a Congressional Library with Gary,” McDonald said. “The work he’s done for the fire department and the entire county is very much appreciated. Gary is just such a great guy and we sincerely thank him and wish him and Marilyn the very best.”

Police Chief Wayne Torpy said the police department would miss him “tremendously ... It was always clear to see how much he cared for the community through the quality of his work. Besides his photos for news articles, it was a pleasure and always a nice surprise to see photos he took of things he noticed around the community. We are really going to miss Gary and wish him and his wife the very best.”

Superintendent James Anderson just retired and has known the Warrens for 14 years. “Apart from his ability to be a photographer, what I know about Gary is the person he is and that’s what I respect,” Anderson said.

Community leader Sharon Stover said, “You always knew when you saw that little Beetle car coming that it was Gary. He was so talented at getting just the perfect shot, whether it was for the baseball game, hockey tournament or community event. Gary and his wife Marilyn were part of Los Alamos. They made the town better while they were here. I want to wish them health and much success. Los Alamos’ loss is Denver’s gain.”

Youth Activity Center (YAC) Director Paul Martinez also had nothing but good to say about Gary. “He’s put the youth center in front of the community and is the first to do that,” he said. “It’s easy to see how much he loves taking pictures of these kids. He’d stop in to take photos and would talk to us and I got to know him. I wish he wasn’t going but I wish him all the success that he strives for. He’s a good man and good things come to good people. It’s just been a real joy to know him.”

Joy Beery, executive director of YAC, which is a program of the Los Alamos Family Council, added, “What we like about Gary is that he was always involved in the community and the Youth Activity Center. He took great photos and I was always so pleased that in his photography, he caught kids doing fun things.”

Warren photographed countless activities at the Los Alamos County Ice Rink over the years. “I think his work is absolutely wonderful,” said Ice Rink Manager Dianne Marquez. “I admire the unique angles and perspectives he takes in his photographs and I always wanted a ‘Gary Warren’ on my wall. I now own two that he took of the Valles Caldera that are just beautiful, and I bought a third ‘Gary Warren’ and gave it as a housewarming gift to a friend who moved to Chicago. She has it hanging on the wall above her piano. We are all going to miss Gary so much.”

The Monitor adds its fond farewell to Warren, whose valued friendship and comic relief will be remembered and laughed about for years to come.