Allen Stross, Master Photographer, of Berkeley, died January 18, 2017. He was 93 years old.
Berkeley residents will remember Allen as the ever-present photographer around town photographing people, senior activities, events and structures, and having them developed within hours and distributing those photos to his subjects free of charge. He was active with the Berkeley Historical Society, the North Berkeley Senior Center, Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, and many other organizations, and served on the Berkeley Commission on Aging. At the BHS he photographed events, organized photography workshops and photography contests, was a long-standing Board member, and was the “ideas” man for the BHS walking tours. Allen and his wife Hyshka were featured in a March 25, 2014, San Francisco Chronicle article on “Aging.” Allen and Hyshka moved to Berkeley in October 1979.
Allen was born in Detroit, served in the US Navy during World War II, attended various professional photography schools, graduated from Wayne State University in 1962, and taught many photography classes and workshops, including stints at Wayne State, University of Michigan Extension, Henry Ford Community College, SF State and UC Berkeley Extension. He had other employment periods at the Detroit Free Press, Brooks Camera and other studios in Detroit, and was a producer of postcards for much of his life.
His first interest in photography occurred in 1936 at age 13 when attending Cass Technical High School in Detroit, where he majored in Commercial Art. He joined the Navy after graduating from high school, and after WWII, attended Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design (LA campus) on the GI Bill. Following several years in the Los Angeles and Newport Beach areas, attending school and practicing professional photography, he returned to Detroit. In 1953, Allen entered a photography contest sponsored by the Detroit Zoo and Cunningham’s Drugs, winning first prize, a new 1953 Ford.
Allen is survived by his wife, Dorian Hyshka Stross, and many nephews and nieces.
A memorial exhibit of Allen’s photographs and memorabilia, bequeathed to the Berkeley Historical Society & Museum took place at the Berkeley History Center from April 8 through April 21, 2018. Photo by Tom Edwards, April 2009