Doug Hjorth, 64, dies; served as Compass photographer for 25 years

ALLOUEZ — Doug Hjorth, 64, who worked on the staff of the diocesan newspaper and served as a staff photographer and, later, freelance photographer for The Compass for 25 years, died April 2. He was a lifelong resident of De Pere.

Hjorth also served as a field photographer for the Green Bay Packers for 25 years, ran his own photography business and, for the last 20 years, worked for St. Norbert College’s Survey Center. He also volunteered with Ducks Unlimited and Altrusa House in Green Bay.

Doug Hjorth

His love of photography began in high school and, even though he was hired for ad sales for the diocesan paper, The Spirit, in 1974, he “soon gravitated upstairs to the darkroom and photography,” recalled Jim Alt, who was editor at the time. Hjorth later sought further education in design and worked with Alt on several publishing projects.

“We did a lot of books,” Alt said. “He was just somebody you could always go to — he knew the answers to things; he knew photography; he knew cameras.”

In a farewell letter to family and friends read at his memorial, Hjorth wrote: “Much of what I did was just for the love of beauty in our world, from the beaches of Acapulco to the flowers in my backyard. There was something special about seeing things through a lens (and) then developing it in a darkroom — a kind of magic.”

Hjorth was especially proud that one of his photos of the local Hmong community had been used in a United Nations publication.

“Doug always had a soft spot for The Compass and the Diocese of Green Bay,” said Nancy Barthel, former assistant editor of The Compass. “For many years, he was called on to help tell the stories of faith through his pictures, and he relished that.”

Retired Compass editor Tony Staley spoke of Hjorth as “a kind, soft-spoken guy who was always willing to help.”

A memorial service, led by Deacon Kevin De Cleene, took place April 7 at Old St. Joseph Church at St. Norbert College.

Hjorth is survived by his sisters-in-law, Cindy Bauman and Donna Hjorth; niece, Beth Marie (James) Saliger, and their children: Joslyn, Landen, Rayne, Hayley and Thea; and nephew, Bill Yorth. He was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Olaf and Mena Johnson, his parents, Irene and William Hjorth, and brothers, William and John Hjorth.
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