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Sikeston mourns loss of newspaper photographer
SIKESTON, Mo. — While he's known around the community for getting the toughest children — and even adults — to smile, Standard Democrat photographer Tim Jaynes is remembered for much more than capturing moments with his camera.
Jaynes died after suffering a heart attack Sunday at his home in Sikeston. He was 38.
"We truly like to think we're a family at the newspaper so this loss is very personal and very deep," said Standard Democrat Publisher Michael Jensen. "Tim was not just a co-worker; he was a family member."
He continued: "Tim began work here as a teenager and some of us were lucky enough to watch Tim grow and develop professionally and personally. He was an outstanding young man with an amazing talent and personality."
Jaynes, who had been a photographer with the Standard Democrat since 1989, was an active member of the Sikeston Jaycees, where he served on the executive board as club secretary and as management development vice president. He had also worked on various Jaycee Club projects.
"Tim was an integral part of the Jaycees and the Bootheel Rodeo, but he was a more integral part of the community. As a whole, the community is lucky to have had someone like Tim willing to serve," said Ron Payne, 2008 Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo chair, who spoke on behalf of the Sikeston Jaycees.
At the rodeo, Jaynes was a member of the rodeo stage crew from 1997 to 2008 and had been the entertainment buyer for the rodeo since 1999. He also had volunteered as extra help on the rodeo grounds crew and fence crew.
"He had a large, extended family that love him greatly and will miss him greatly," Payne said.
Plans are under way for a tribute to Jaynes during next week's Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo. Also proceeds from the annual Rodeo Run set for Saturday will be donated to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund in Jaynes' memory.
Between working the rodeo and covering emergencies, Jaynes was like part of Sikeston Department of Public Safety staff, said Chief Drew Juden.
"Tim was very close to all of us here. He actually had a departmental issued pager so that on certain types of emergency, his pager would go off like he was one of DPS staff," Juden said.
Jaynes often advised DPS staff on photography issues.
"If we had a picture that needed to be touched or blown up or a piece brought out, we always relied on Tim's expertise. To us, it's like losing one of our own," Juden said.
Besides his involvement with the rodeo, Jaynes had served on the board of directors of the Kenny Rogers Children's Center and had been active in the Kenny Rogers Children's Center Telethon, taking pictures of the annual event's poster children for several years.
"I was just telling my staff [through an office memo] of what an impact for a 38-year-old he had on this entire community — not to mention the fact he's taken pictures at every event in Sikeston that means anything," said KRCC Executive Director Michelle Fayette.
Jaynes had a true passion for taking pictures of the telethon's poster children, Fayette said.
"He had the patience. He always wanted to make sure he got a good picture of those kids. Some days it was a bad day for them, and Tim would say, 'I'll come back tomorrow or the next day' because he always wanted to get a great shot of those kids," Fayette said.
Many times people are intimidated by some of the children who come to the Center but not Jaynes, Fayette said.
"Tim had a great time with them, and they truly responded to him. He was unbelievable with them," Fayette said.
Jaynes also served for many years as director of the Community Christmas Basket Campaign which provided thousands of local families with food and gifts at Christmas time during its run.
Missy Marshall, executive director of the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce, said she talked to several people about Jaynes as news of his death spread throughout the community Monday.
"I think we are all in agreement he really was more than a photographer," Marshall said. "He didn't just take a picture at a ribbon cutting. He would welcome the new business to the community.
She continued: "He was always looking out for the other person. He was a goodwill ambassador of sorts for the community."
Marshall said Jaynes' death is a big loss for the community.
"There is a big void. We won't ever be able to replace him. He had such joy in what he did, and that's why his shots were so good," Marshall said.
Jaynes was known for his playfulness and teasing to get people to smile for the camera.
"That was the great part. He could work with kids. He could work with animals, and he could work with grumpy, old adults," Marshall said. "Tim could work with everybody. He could work with a building. ... He really had the ability to find the positive, the picture, the look."
As a newspaper photographer, Jaynes often found himself taking pictures of students at Sikeston Public Schools and other schools in the area.
"Sometimes it is so hard to take pictures of kids and get them to smile. Tim was awesome at getting them to smile," said Jenny Hobeck, principal at Sikeston Kindergarten Center. "There were lots of times where the [Parents as Teachers] kids wouldn't sit still, and he'd involve the parents. He was always making funny faces and noises to get them to smile."
Jaynes would go the extra mile, Hobeck said.
"If he needed to be here 30 minutes, it was OK — anything to get a good shot," Hobeck said.
And Jaynes always wanted to make sure he had the correct information for his cutlines, Hobeck said.
"He would always ask if the names were spelled right. He didn't want something out there that wasn't right," Hobeck said.
When Aidan Marshall, 19, of Sikeston was 1 year old, Jaynes took a picture of her for a feature in the newspaper. Years later, Marshall taught Jaynes' daughter how to swim.
"He would stand outside the pool fence and watch her until he had to leave or until practice was over. He would cheer her on, making sure she knew dad was there for her," said Marshall.
Marshall said Jaynes was a positive role model, and she and her friends looked up to him. She saw Jaynes on Saturday at an event in Sikeston, and he stuck his tongue out at her. Then he gave her a big hug.
"He was part of the Sikeston family," the college student said. "Everyone knew Tim. Growing up, I knew him as 'Tim the camera man.' He'd be everywhere, taking pictures."
Jaynes is survived by his wife, Christy; 6-year-old daughter, Rory; 3-year-old son, Morgan; his parents; and several relatives and friends.