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www.norwichbulletin.

com ■ Sunday Bulletin ■ May 2, 2010 3

photographer Edward Steichen, the first curator of photography at


the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
The 15-minute session turned into an hour.
“Steichen asked me if there were any mills in the region,” Stanley
said. “I said, ‘Yes.’ ” Steichen said, ‘Good, you should work there.’ ”
Stanley later determined that was Steichen’s strange way of moti-
vating Stanley to take photography seriously because Steichen’s sec-
retary told Stanley that Steichen must’ve liked him because he spent
so much time with him during the meeting.
After high school, Stanley trained at the New York School of Mod-
ern Photography on 57th Street in New York, overlooking Central
Park. Always the opportunist, Stanley visited the New York Herald
across the street to glean insight from three Pulitzer prize-winning
photographers.
Stanley was a photographer for the Marines and went on to be-
PHOTO COURTESY OF BILL STANLEY come The Bulletin’s official photographer, chasing down accidents
A proud Myrtle Stanley kisses her son Bill when word is received he was
elected to the state Senate in 1966.
and fires and shooting high school basketball tournaments. He
earned 25 cents for every picture.
convinced they were talking about her.
Stanley’s recollection of his grandmother stirred up a memory on a Religious life
lighter note.
When he was 3 or 4 and living on Laurel Hill, his grandmother
would baby-sit him. When she napped she made him take his clothes
off, figuring he wouldn’t dare leave his home in the buff.
But one day he took off to walk to the post office where his dad
worked. Officer John Murphy, who went on to become police chief,
found him and returned him to safety. Murphy often joked about the
incident with Stanley.

Education
Stanley attended neighborhood elementary schools. In third grade,
he was held back. Severe dyslexia restricted him from reading and
writing, a lifelong obstacle that he largely overcame with the help of
his trusted, longtime assistant, Fran Rondeau, who transcribed his
columns and other correspondence.
“They said I was lazy and I was stupid,” Stanley said, recalling the
initial responses of his teachers. “But I was up all night and still
couldn’t read.”
At Norwich Free Academy, Stanley was voted the most energetic
and most likely to succeed. He lost his bid for class president and
maintained the election was rigged because the winner was someone
no one liked. He served as editor-in-chief of the class yearbook. But BILL STANLEY PHOTO
he flunked Latin, Italian and French. The Rev. George Donahue with his two boys, as he called them — Willie
Pep, left, featherweight boxing champion of the world, and Frank Sinatra.

Benedict Arnold As a teenager, Stanley wanted to be a priest. But he flunked Latin


It was at NFA that Stanley be- in high school because of his dyslexia, disqualifying him for the
came possibly the world’s biggest priesthood. Still, he went to Mass and communion every day in
promoter of Benedict Arnold. grammar school, high school and while in the Marines.
Though largely viewed in black- He was baptized, received First Communion and Confirmation at
and-white terms as the man who St. Mary’s Church in Greeneville, where he came to respect the Rev.
betrayed the nation, Arnold was George Donahue.
seen in a different light by Stanley. Donahue led a campaign against organized crime while in Stam-
To Stanley, he was the man who ford and was the target of an attempted assassination by the mob.
saved America before he betrayed Upset that Catholic schoolchildren were required to take a difficult
it. entrance exam to attend Norwich Free Academy, he later fought for
In 1948, Stanley’s English as- legislation that guaranteed all children were entitled to a high school
signment was to write an essay on education without an entrance exam.
the most valuable American — Stanley remained proud of his Irish Catholic upbringing through-
not the most popular, as Stanley out his adult years and was even given a citation for his work as a lay-
pointed out. Stanley was im- man by the Pope.
pressed with Arnold’s role in the “I believe in God,” Stanley said late in 2009. “I believe strongly in
1777 Battle of Saratoga, a turning the Lord. I believe everything has a purpose.”
point in the Revolutionary War.
“If we lost, the war would’ve been over,” Stanley said. “The British
would’ve won.” Lifelong professional team
Instead, Arnold took the battlefield against orders, mounted a Fran Rondeau joined Stanley 49 years ago as a high school intern.
white horse, took command of the troops from Norwich and New She never left him, putting his thoughts into words on paper that be-
London and fought with such a ferocity that witnesses said he fright- came columns in The Norwich Bulletin and books, paying the bills
ened the British. and doing many other day-to-day activities that helped Stanley over-
Arnold was shot in the leg, and Gen. Horatio Gates went on to tell come his dyslexia and succeed in his professional life.
George Washington that the battle was won despite Arnold being a “I guess I was a good boss,” Stanley said of Fran’s longevity with
nuisance. Stanley sympathetically said that when Gates took the him. “She certainly was a good secretary.”
credit for the victory, Arnold became bitter.
Stanley stood to read his essay, upsetting his teacher.
“She said, ‘This is no joke. You’re going to be graded on this assign- Business life
ment. So shall we start again?’ ” Stanley recalled. “I didn’t fully real-
Stanley graduated from NFA in 1948, after taking commercial
ize how upset she was.”
courses learning bookkeeping, accounting, typing and sales.
Stanley was sent to the principal and suspended for three days.
His first foray into the stock market didn’t earn him much money.
Years later, during Norwich’s 300th anniversary, Stanley stirred up
But Stanley read famed investor Gerald Loeb’s book on Wall Street.
controversy regarding Arnold once again, asking President Dwight
Loeb was a founding partner of E.F. Hutton & Co. Stanley said he
D. Eisenhower to clear Arnold of any wrongdoing. The tongue-in-
heeded Loeb’s advice not to spread his investments but to put “all the
cheek request made the news, including The New York Times, Time
eggs in one basket and watch that basket.”
Magazine and London Times.
Loeb’s strategy went against conventional thinking in that he said
Stanley never stopped promoting Arnold as an American who de-
the stock market was too risky to hold on to stocks for too long.
served to be given more credit, despite a backlash to against him
Among Stanley’s investments was the purchase of 3,000 to 4,000
from people in the region.
American Motors shares, a move made because he liked the compa-
ny’s newest car, the Rambler, which soon became the hottest car in
The photographer the nation. He made $7,000.
When he went on the radio, Stanley said, “I did the smartest thing
At age 11, Stanley began a photography apprenticeship at The Bulletin. in my life,” by crediting his success to Loeb’s book, “The Battle for In-
When he won the East Kodak national award for photography, was vestment Survival.”
given a weekend trip to New York City and 15 minutes with famed Loeb wrote him a two-paragraph letter. The first paragraph,