Years before “Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day” was a thing, my dad took me to work with him during the summers, beginning when I was 11.
Back then, my dad’s office was on the second floor of the old City Hall in north San Jose. I still remember walking into the room for the first time. Other than the talented people in it, the room was pretty bland. What surprised me was that there were several competing journalists sharing the same office space. And while I knew some of them, I didn’t know everyone, so my dad would take me from desk to desk to introduce me to people from TV and radio whom I hadn’t met.
He also took me around City Hall to meet a few others — including a young woman whom he would eventually marry.
I loved being around all of the people in that old building, and I loved going out with my dad and his cameraman as they began their day. Back then he worked with a photographer named Guy Hall; and occasionally he’d work with a photographer named John Johnson. I enjoyed their company immensely.
Sometime after 1980, my dad began working with the photographer pictured here on the right: Clyde Powell. And while he is someone who you’d never see on television, he always produced stellar and poignant images for the stories that he and my dad packaged for the evening newscast.
Two days ago — following a regular day at work — he passed away unexpectedly in his sleep at his home in Santa Clara. He was 63.
I got the news like many of us do nowadays: social media.
Earlier today I talked to my dad, who — as many of you know — retired back in 2004. He is heartbroken.
Clyde was not only a close friend, he was someone who made bad days good, and good days better — for my dad, and so many others who had the pleasure of working with him. Everyone who knew Clyde will tell you that he was a total crack-up. And every disciplined photographer will tell you that when it comes to capturing images, timing is everything. Clyde’s humor was no different. If you spent any time with him, you could bet that it was filled with laughter.
After long and often stressful days in the field, my dad habitually said that if not for Clyde’s uncanny ability to bring levity to even the most serious reports, the days would have been much longer.
Over the years I’ve grown to appreciate my dad’s decorum. In fact, I often stop to think about what he would do when I find myself in situations that test my patience, or require grit and guile. I’ve also learned that there are some things he’ll never like: tattoos, caps on backward inside the house, cursing, and the like.
Clyde was a decent and funny man. And what I loved most about him was that he could break my dad’s decorum — in a good way. He would — through humor — get my dad to “lighten-up” — especially with the things that made my pops most uncomfortable.
While Clyde Powell leaves behind a formidable legacy of pictures, I know that my dad will remember him most for his professionalism, friendship, and, of course, the laughter.