Former Nassau Guardian photographer Bob ‘Beagle’ Thompson passes on
Very often these days, noted sports contributors are passing on into eternity. Most recently, one of them, a sports photographer, Robert (Bob) “Beagle” Thompson, left this life at the age of 72. He died on Tuesday, July 16.
Bob joined the Nassau Guardian during the 1970s and teamed up with veteran Garth Mitchell, long deceased, in the photography department. I was sports editor of the Nassau Guardian at the time and worked an arrangement with Editor Leon Turnquest, for Bob to focus primarily on sports assignments. Garth, you see, had a preference for general news assignments.
Bob became very adept at capturing the sporting action and evolved into a sports photographer of the highest order. He was always the ultimate professional. I recall his passion for immediately going into the dark room (photo production area) and staying with the process, ignoring telephone calls, until he had produced the photos and placed them on the sports desk.
He functioned in the era before high technology tipped in. The process of photo development was much more time-consuming and arduous, but Bob was a trooper and never faltered. It was easy working with Bob on regular assignments and expanded projects, such as special supplements.
On occasions, an event would be of the magnitude, importance, that I opted for several pages of photos, making the assignment more demanding for Bob. He was a team player and made adjustments to his planned scheduled to accommodate the project. For him, his job was always a priority.
When he made the big career decision and moved from the Nassau Guardian to the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas, he was missed. I lost a colleague who understood and worked closely with me on the new culture of expanded sports coverage that I advocated. Print media also lost a giant.
One of the tragedies of life is the lack of significance some apply to quality, historic items. For instance, I recall vividly, getting a call from a later era Nassau Guardian photographer, Derek Smith. He informed that a large number of photographs from the photo morgue had been dumped. He was mortified, when making the discovery upon returning from an assignment. Smith understood the value and saved a good portion of them.
However, a lot of the classic photographs taken by Bob were lost.
About six years ago, Bob approached me with the desire to collaborate on a book featuring his photographs, tagged with captions. He produced a small lot and the idea was to arrange with the Nassau Guardian for the use of some of his old photos. Sadly, there were not an appreciable amount of his sports photos, and others he took, available to give full justice to a book.
We never produced the book. He is gone now, without that proposed product as a part of his legacy. Without a doubt though, there are quite a few folks still around who remember his professionalism and the important role he played in national sports development, by capturing many great sporting moments on film.
I extend condolences to his wife and children, and siblings, inclusive of Jeanette and Russ.
Farewell Bob. May your soul forever rest in peace.
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