Francis “Red” Grandy, 96 of Lazy River Rd, Hermon passed away after a short illness on Wednesday morning August 8, 2018. Arrangements are with the O’Leary Funeral Service in Canton. Calling hours will be on Thursday, September 13th, from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. The funeral will be held on Friday, the 14th, starting at 11:00 am. Following the service will be a gathering of family and friend at 456 Lazy River Road, Hermon, NY.
Francis Grandy was born on the Grandy Farm in the town of Russell, NY on January 26, 1922 to John B. Grandy and Zoe (Wikoff) Grandy. He was nicknamed Red, same as his mother, for their auburn hair. Red had six siblings, Lloyd, Jean, Pauline, Charlie and half-sister Anne and half-brother Harold "Johnny" Grandy. Red spent much of his youth helping his father on the farm.
In January 1943 he was sent to Atlantic City for basic training. It was a shared dream of Red and his brother Lloyd, to be fighter pilots. Red had a bout of what he would call, “good luck, bad luck,” and fell ill with rheumatic fever keeping him from being a pilot in WWII. The doctor saying he would live to 40 if he was lucky, Red decided he better live two days in one.
In 1946 Red enrolled at USC and asked photo department head Doug Kilgour for a job. Turned down the first time Red, notoriously turning adversity into adventure, went out and got a shot that he sold to the Los Angeles Daily News. He brought the photo and story back to Kilgour and was hired on the spot.
Graduating in 1950 he had the opportunity to go to Europe with a friend from USC. After touring France, Italy, England, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and stopping in Switzerland to hike the Matterhorn, Red met Bette Kaye Kappemeyer in Darmstadt, Germany. She and her husband invited Red to attend a dinner with them at the Stars and Stripes Newspaper Headquarters in Darmstadt. There he met S&S Managing Editor, Ken Zumwalt and was told about an opening on the photo staff. After an initial no, Zumwalt agreed to give Red a trial run.
In the first four months working for S&S Red took the award winning, “I’ll Be Darned” photo of Dwight D. Eisenhower in response to news of Truman’s decision to replace Gen. MacArthur with Gen. Ridgway. Later after running in almost every newspaper and magazine in the US, Gen. Eisenhower sent Red a signed copy of the photo with an inscription which read “For Red Grandy, who in this picture, surprised an old soldier.” The “I’ll Be Darned” photo hangs today as the first photo on the wall as you enter the Stars and Stripes Offices in Washington, DC.
Based at the Darmstadt Headquarters, Red archived a pivotal time in our history, documenting post WWII and Cold War era events, including the fall of the Berlin Wall and the “Miracle on Ice” historic US hockey team win against Russia in the Lake Placid 1980 Winter Olympic Games. Photographing major world leaders, celebrities and iconic figures like Ray Charles, Sophia Loren, Chuck Yaeger, Hayley Mills and Muhammad Ali to name a short few and several American Presidents including, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Lyndon B. Johnson. Red did almost anything to get the shot, only missing one deadline in his 35 year prolific career.
Today Stars and Stripes still celebrates Red with their “Photo of the Day” collection headed by close friend, Joe Gromelski, featuring photographs of Red’s throughout his career.
Later in life Red enjoyed hosting parties at Lazy River Playground built by his father in the early 1940s, spending time with his grandchildren and friends and giving rides in his prized Amphibious car he had shipped from Germany.
Through his lens Red Grandy gave a timeless gift to our culture and to American and world history. Red’s life was a life lived in adventure, friendship and resilience of the human spirit. He was a gift to everyone who had the privilege of knowing him.
Red is survived by his sister Patricia Anne Harmer, daughter Kathryn Grandy Tabor, her 4 sons Greg Reczko, Andy Reczko, Doug Reczko, and Lowen Tabor, nieces and nephews, 7 great grandchildren, 8 great great-grandchildren, and several great nieces and great nephews.
Red was on the Hermon Cemetery Board and the Gateway Museum Board in Morristown. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Hermon Cemetery in his honor.
Memories and condolences may be shared online at www.olearyfuneralservice.com. Arrangements for Mr. Francis J. “Red” Grandy are under the care of the O’Leary Funeral Service of Canton.