Aug. 14, 1927 – Nov. 5, 2012
Jack P. Bleich, an award-winning television news photographer and still photographer, died Monday in his Hamburg home. He was 85.
Born in Buffalo, he was a graduate of Lafayette High School and the University of Buffalo. He attended Albright Art School and studied with UB photographers Allen Downs and Lyle Meyer. His work was exhibited in the annual show of Western New York artists at Albright from 1952 to 1954.
In 1954, he became a newsreel photographer and joined Channel 2, where he worked until he retired on disability in 1979. At Channel 2, he built a machine to process film for same-day broadcast. He also won a New York State Associated Press Broadcast Association first-place award for general excellence.
“All the reporters loved working with him because he knew all the great restaurants and lunch places,” former Channel 2 reporter Sheila Murphy recalled. And he had a great sense of humor, very wry, just fun to work with.”
In retirement, Mr. Bleich earned an associate degree in computer programming from Erie Community College and began a new career in which he donated his services to nonprofit organizations, hospitals and New York University.
He exhibited his photography in the Tony Sisti Gallery and had a one-man show at Coffee Encores. In recent years, he exhibited in shows in Art Dialog Gallery, where he received several first-place awards. He donated many of his works for fundraising events.
He also was an active competitor in sports car rallies throughout the Northeast and served as a judge in charity rallies across the country. A member of the Sports Car Club of America and several other car clubs, he won several trophies.
In the late 1950s, he opened one of Buffalo’s first coffee houses, the Lower Level, at Potomac and Elmwood avenues. For two years, it was a venue for local folk musicians.
He served for 25 years on the Human Research Committee of Millard Fillmore Hospital, which later moved to the UB Medical School.
He also was active with the greyhound rescue program for more than 30 years.
His first marriage to Diana Cushing ended in divorce.
Surviving are his wife of 40 years, Diane, and a daughter, Rachel.
A graveside service will be at 10 a.m. Friday in Forest Lawn.