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Jack Frost, 86; wrote of joys of photography for the Globe

JACK FROST

When Jack Frost left his job as a copy editor at the Globe in the early morning hours, he often drove north to Maine or Vermont to photograph the sunrise. His affinity for photography led him around New England to capture wildlife, lighthouses, and puffins.

“He had this preoccupation with puffins; he would devote his days off to taking pictures of them,’’ said Bob Duffy, a former sports copy editor and sports writer for the Globe. “They gave him great satisfaction.’’

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An avid photographer who was a member of the South Shore Camera Club, Mr. Frost was a copy editor in the Globe’s sports department for 26 years. During that time he also wrote hundreds of camera columns for the Sunday Globe and coauthored a photography book. His byline was his given name, Walter, but everyone knew him as Jack, whether he was designing sports pages or traveling to Machias Seal Island in Maine, where puffins congregate.

Mr. Frost, who lived in Massachusetts until 1989, died Jan. 6 in the Lower Cape Fear Hospice and Life Care Center in Wilmington, N.C., of small cell lung cancer. He was 86 and lived in Leland, N.C.

“There’s more to taking photographs than technique, skill, and a sense of the artistic; there’s the thrill of making a picture,’’ Mr. Frost wrote in a November 1979 camera column. “It’s true. Many photographers get as much satisfaction out of working with their subject, whether it’s a person or a scene.’’

Nevertheless, Mr. Frost “just really loved the technical side of photography,’’ said his daughter Linda Murphy of Scituate.

He took equal pleasure in developing photos in a darkroom or finding new subjects to photograph.

“He loved being in there,’’ she said, “and he loved to drive around New England and just take pictures of the landscape.’’

Though Mr. Frost experimented with digital technology, he “never went completely digital,’’ said his wife, Mary Anne.

In 1980, Mr. Frost co-wrote “The Lighthouses of Maine - A Guide for Photographers and Artists.’’ At the Globe, co-workers said he was a versatile copy editor and layout editor who also kept production flowing in the composing room.

“He had a lot of energy,’’ said Bill Griffith, a former assistant sports editor at the Globe. “He was an old Globe guy. He was proud of putting out the sports section every day.’’

Walter S. Frost III was born in Boston and grew up in Newton. After graduating from high school in Boston in 1942, he attended Mount Hermon School in Gill.

When he was young, Mr. Frost’s family and friends called him by his middle name, Sprague, which he despised, his wife said. In adolescence, he told his family he would refuse to answer to any name but Jack.

During World War II, he served overseas with the 13th Airborne Division of the Army.

In later years, he would tell the story of how “he was so tired one night that he fell asleep in the house he was staying at in France,’’ his daughter said. “The house next door got blown up, and he never heard it because he was so tired.’’

After the war, Mr. Frost majored in journalism at the University of Vermont in Burlington. While there, he worked for the Burlington Free Press as an assistant to the state editor.

When the Korean War began, he worked domestically as a recruiter.

Before starting at the Globe, he worked for other newspapers in New England, including the Bennington Banner in Vermont and the Standard-Times in New Bedford.

“He loved the newspaper business,’’ his daughter said. “He was always very good with words.’’

While in Massachusetts, Mr. Frost spent many summers on Cape Cod, and in 1968 he moved to Scituate, where he enjoyed sailing. He owned three sailboats over his life.

To escape New England winters after retiring from the Globe, Mr. Frost moved in 1989 to Wilmington, where he lived until moving to Leland, N.C., in 2005. During his first Christmas in the South, Wilmington received record snowfall.

“It surprised him that they didn’t have any snow plows down there,’’ his daughter said. “They didn’t know what to do with that snow, and everything shut down.’’

Mr. Frost’s marriage to Phyllis Cook ended in divorce. He married Mary Anne Edwards in 1993 after moving to Wilmington.

He was a 32d degree mason and a member of St. John’s Lodge in Wilmington. For 45 years, Mr. Frost was a member of the Washington Lodge in Massachusetts, serving as his family’s third-generation master from 1973 to 1974.

A service has been held for Mr. Frost, who in addition to his wife and daughter leaves another daughter, Sally McCarthy of Marshfield; three sons, Daniel of Bear, Del., Scott of Naples, Fla., and James of Marshfield; 14 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

An avid golfer, Mr. Frost joined friends during retirement for rounds at the Pine Valley Country Club in Wilmington.

While living in Wilmington, Mr. Frost also volunteered with organizations such as the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Meals on Wheels, and the International Seamen’s Center.

“He was especially touched by doing Meals on Wheels, because he met a lot of people and was always pleased that he could serve that way,’’ his wife said. “Jack was always a happy fellow. He brought a little sunshine.’’

Michele Richinick can be reached at mrichinick@globe.com.
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