NPPA Member George Petroccione, 59

 NPPA member George Petroccione, 59, a longtime reporter and photographer for the Albany Democrat-Herald in Albany, OR, died June 22 at his home of complications from prostate cancer, the newspaper says. Petroccione had taken a medical leave from the paper to undergo chemotherapy treatment and to aggressively fight the cancer, which had spread before being discovered. His colleagues at the newspaper remembered him as a man who loved dogs, the New York Mets, the Grateful Dead, and the pictures he contributed to the People page, said to be his favorite part of the paper.

“George is the photographer who introduced me (and many others) to NPPA,” the organization’s new president, Tony Overman, said today. “I credit George for much of what I have accomplished because without NPPA, I would never have become the photojournalist I am today.”

Petroccione worked in the photography darkroom at the Central Oregonian in Prineville and his interest in journalism grew. The newspaper says Petroccione attended Linn-Benton Community College and worked at the Commuter student newspaper for two years as a picture editor, earning a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism and photography at Oregon State University where in 1990 he was the editor of the OSU Barometer.

The Democrat-Herald says that early in his career Petroccione worked in the tape archive department at Reader’s Digest and IBM in the New York City area. His love of dogs led him to work for Seeing Eye Dogs for the Blind in New York. After a summer internship at the Democrat-Herald, he became the newspaper’s weekend photographer in the spring of 1988.

Petroccione is survived by his wife, Sharon, and daughter, Nicole. The family requests that memorial contributions may be made to Fairview Christian School in care of Fisher Funeral Home, 306 Washington St. S.W., Albany, OR, 97321.