01/02/07 — Former photo chief at News-Argus dies at age 82

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Former photo chief at News-Argus dies at age 82

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on January 2, 2007 1:52 PM

Bill Futrelle, whose photographs graced the front page of the News-Argus for 40 years, died Sunday at Wake Mem-orial Hospital in Raleigh.

Futrelle, 82, had undergone heart surgery in the fall and had suffered complications since then, his wife, Ann, said.

He retired from the News-Argus in 1983.

"Bill was a perfectionist as a photographer," said Gene Price, former longtime News-Argus editor.

"If it wasn't for Bill I wouldn't have been a professional photographer," said B.J. Overbee, who worked for the newspaper for 15 years before operating his own photography studio. "He was a good man to work with. He loved the newspaper."

Overbee noted Futrelle's expertise in engraving during the "hot press" days of printing, when a photographer had to be master of many skills.

"Bill was a great technical man," said Jim Meachen, who retired from the newspaper as executive news editor last year.

Meachen said he recalled Futrelle and Overbee working for hours to get a color photograph in the newspaper in the early 1970s, long before color photos became routine.

Futrelle was chief photographer at the newspaper for decades. He joined the staff after World War II. He had served in the Army's combat engineers and was in the unit that took a key bridge over the Rhine River at Remagen in March 1945 during the Allied advance into Germany.

Futrelle is survived by his wife, his son, Chuck; his daughter, Mary Ann; four grandchildren; and three brothers, Earl, George and Milton.