Memorial to honor photographer

EVERETT — Services are planned Tuesday to salute Jim Leo, whose legacy is found in family scrapbooks, newspaper files and fire department history books.

The retired Herald photographer and honorary Everett firefighter will be memorialized at 2 p.m. at Everett Civic Auditorium at 2415 Colby Ave. in Everett.

Leo died Wednesday after heart surgery.

While Leo snapped pictures at the Stewart Title fire June 25 in Everett, he greeted Everett Fire Chief Murray Gordon with his usual smile.

“He almost invariably beat us to fire scenes,” Gordon said. “He apologized he didn’t have his helmet with him.”

The fire department issued the photographer bunker gear and a helmet, Gordon said. At the Stewart Title fire, a firefighter needed to borrow a hat, and Leo handed over his head gear.

“He was so giving,” Gordon said. “That’s what he was like.”

Former Herald writer Rebecca Hover always called him “Leo,” she said, during her years working the crime beat.

“Working with Leo at the scene of a fire or another breaking story was great because not only was he extremely patient and helpful, but he could get you closer to the action than anyone else,” Hover said. “As long as you were with Leo, you wouldn’t get in trouble.”

Leo spent 47 years working for his hometown newspaper, including 38 years as a photographer.

During that time, he taught fellow photographers and even police and firefighters about taking pictures at breaking news events.

A procession will follow the memorial to Evergreen Cemetery-Mausoleum and Funeral Home at 4504 Broadway in Everett, followed by a reception at Immaculate Conception Church at 2501 Hoyt Ave. in Everett.

The procession route is being finalized. Leo’s casket will be driven in an antique fire truck that served the Lowell area in the 1940s.

Jeff Leo said his father would be humbled to take a final ride in the back of a fire truck.

“He would be so touched, and honored,” Jeff Leo said. “He loved the Everett Fire Department.”

If folks decide to line the procession route, Leo said that would be great.

“Dad touched so many people’s lives,” Leo said. “A lot of people know of him, if they didn’t know him personally, just seeing his photos in the newspaper.”

Reporter Kristi O’Harran: 425-339-3451 or

Memorial service Tuesday

A memorial service is planned Tuesday for Jim Leo, a retired Herald photographer who died Wednesday. The service is planned for 2 p.m. at Everett Civic Auditorium at 2415 Colby Ave. in Everett, followed by a procession to Evergreen Cemetery-Mausoleum and Funeral Home at 4504 Broadway in Everett. An reception is planned later at Immaculate Conception Church at 2501 Hoyt Ave. in Everett.

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