Former Chief Photographer for Portland, Maine, Newspapers Dies at 79

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Charles Merrill, a former chief photographer for the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram, died Tuesday at his home. He was 79.

A Portland native, Merrill served in the Marines and attended Portland Junior College before beginning a 40-year career as a news photographer. He was named chief photographer in 1971, leading a staff of 10 for what were then the Guy Gannett Newspapers.

One of Merrill’s award-winning photos showing two male streakers dashing into an all-girl high school in Portland won play around the world and appeared in Life Magazine’s “The Year in Pictures, 1974.”

Staff photographers remembered him as an old-timer who was larger than life.

“I knew Charlie Merrill as a wonderfully robust newspaper character who was full of great tales of the 40 years he spent as a photographer and department head,” photographer Doug Jones said.

Survivors include his wife of 47 years, Judith Merrill; daughter Stephanie Merrill of New York and son Thomas Merrill of Center Conway, N.H.

Visiting hours will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Blais and Hay Funeral Home in Westbrook.

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