Photographer Jerry Y. Chong passed away Monday, July 27, 2020. Jerry was well known in Hawaii from his Graphic Pictures Hawaii studio, photojournalism awards at the Honolulu Advertiser, and was also a UPI regional photographer, Life and National Geographic magazines contributor.
In 1959, Life magazine published his photos of the eruption of Kilauea, which he would receive a personal letter from Ansel Adams commending him on his work and that he was "…filled with friendly envy."
Jerry caught the camera bug in his teens and never stopped shooting photos in his life, with a career that spanned over 70 years. He was a proud veteran of the Korean War, where he served in the Air Force as a photographer flying all over the Pacific Ocean. After a period at Werner Stoy’s Camera Hawaii in the 1950s, Jerry worked at the Honolulu Advertiser in the 1960s, where he would win a UPI Photographer of the Year award.
After working at the Honolulu Advertiser, he would become partners with Mori Yamada in Graphic Pictures Hawaii, which is still in its longtime location in Kakaako. Numerous local dignitaries, celebrities and local and national brands, including Liberty House, Tori Richards, Estee Lauder, Shiseido and Duty Free were part of a long list of loyal clients.
A gallery of Jerry’s photos of local entertainers is at Honey’s Restaurant at Ko’olau Golf Club in Kaneohe.
He was active in the local model aircraft community for many years and made friends wherever he went. Jerry also had a passion for cars and owned Mercedes, Porsche, Triumph and Volkswagens over the years.
He lived nearly 88 years, a very full life and finally saw the birth of a Chong girl! His passing was not related to the coronavirus.
Jerry is survived by his wife and companion of 40 years, Andrea, and her daughter Lani. From a previous marriage, four sons (Wesley, Michael, Vernon and Dennie.) Jerry had three grandsons and a granddaughter.
The family would like to thank the doctors and nurses at Kaiser Permanente for the great care given to Jerry during his illness.
He will be placed at rest in the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl. There will be a small, private ceremony at a later date to be determined.
Donations can be made to The Blood Bank of Hawaii.
Arrangements Provided By: Nuuanu Memorial Park & Mortuary LLC
Notice #: 0001297573-01