Award-winning, respected faculty member
Curtis William Chandler of Philipsburg, Pennsylvania, and Pittsburgh died on January 31, 2022, of pancreatic cancer.
Curt was born to William Dean and Joyce Wareing Chandler on February 27, 1957, in Bad Cannstaat, West Germany where his father was stationed.
When asked about his life, Curt would always proudly respond with "This is my 10th state and second country." Growing up, Curt's family moved frequently. He spent his early childhood in Cloquet, Minnesota; was a middle schooler when his family lived in Marin, California; and he graduated from high school in Lewiston, Idaho. In college he spent his summers with his family in McGehee, Arkansas.
Growing up, Curt was an Eagle Scout and cherished memories of attending a Jamboree in Japan and being on the staff at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. He also raced bicycles, played in the school band and took up photography, which became the focus of his professional life.
Curt was a 1978 graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where he was a member and president of Chi Psi Fraternity, a photographer for the Daily Northwestern and the yearbook, and served as publisher of Byline magazine.
In his junior year at Northwestern he met Stacie Paulsen — one of his favorite stories. The couple married in 1980 and began their 42-year adventure.
Curt started his career as an award-winning photojournalist at the Pueblo (Colo.) Star-Journal and Chieftain as a police reporter and photographer. From there he went to the Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner as a staff photographer. In 1986 he moved to Cleveland, Ohio to work as a staff photographer and picture editor for the Plain-Dealer and in 1994 he became the Director of Photography at the Pittsburgh (Pa.) Post-Gazette and was later named the paper's first Editor for Online Innovation. During this time he taught photography at Duquesne University.
In 2007 Curt pivoted from almost 30 years at daily newspapers to a 15-year career in education when he became an associate teaching professor in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State, where he launched the college's multimedia program.
Curt's skill, enthusiasm, vast technical knowledge and love of storytelling combined to make him a valued and beloved teacher, mentor, colleague and friend. He was active in the National Press Photographers' Association, the Online News Association, Multimedia Immersion, and Lens Collective, among others.
As a professor Curt was known for the individual care and nurturing he provided to students, whether on campus or on special projects in Baltimore, Mississippi, Rio de Janeiro, Oslo, Puerto Rico or Hong Kong.
At home, Curt was a loving father to Toby, Molly, Vince and Madeline. He was a dedicated hockey dad and cheerleader at sporting events, plays, concerts, art shows, skate parks, and poetry readings. Curt loved music and movies. Good times with the family often consisted of curling up on the couch with kids, pets, popcorn and a DVD or taking a picnic to a Clarks concert at Point State Park. His “freaking ginormous“ personal collection of books, movies and music reflected his wide-ranging interests and passions. He was always happy when paddling his red canoe, "Rosebud," on lakes and rivers wherever he went. He loved planning and executing the annual family holiday card and the 42-year collection is a tribute to his humor and skills.
Curt was a huge fan of all the family pets but an enduring image is of him cuddling with a carrot-chomping Guinea pig late at night.
He was especially proud of the two Pittsburgh homes the family renovated. The tale of nine months living in a basement while the restoration of the Negley house was in progress was a favorite story, along with the tale of the great cockroach carcass cascade in the Highland Park house.
In recent years he especially embraced the opportunity to travel with his wife and family. Trips to destinations from Rome, Prague, England, Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, and Norway to New Orleans, Key West and Yellowstone Park are all captured in his gorgeous photographs. A dedicated eater, Curt especially enjoyed taking cooking classes during their travels.
Curt is survived by his wife, Stacie Lynn Paulsen Chandler; his children, Toby Benjamin Chandler Ekmann (Kate) of Pittsburgh; Molly Kathleen Chandler Campe (Brian) of Bloomfield, New Jersey; Vincent William Chandler of Denver; and Madeline Wareing Chandler of Brooklyn; three grandchildren: Zooey Michelle Chandler and Logan Thomas and Chandler William Campe; a sister, Cindy Chandler Smith (Don) of McGehee, Arkansas; and a brother, Christopher Taylor Chandler (Tammy) of Loveland, Colorado.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Chandler Grant for Storytelling through the Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State University or Family House in Pittsburgh.