Lou Garbus, 92, died Oct. 11, 2010, at Harbor House Rehab Center where he was recovering from pneumonia, a month after his wife, Betty, died, and four days shy of his 93rd birthday.

He was born in New York City Oct. 15, 1917, during World War I and the year the Russian Revolution started. He spent his youth eating stuffed cabbage and matzoh ball soup and arguing about Trotsky versus Lenin at the corner candy store. At 12 he sent away for a camera which arrived in the mail with film and developer. It cost 57 cents and it worked! This began a passion for photography that lasted his whole life.

Photography was a way to earn extra money that was desperately needed by his family, but more than that, it was a way for him to gain entry into people’s lives and hearts, which was Lou’s real passion. When he joined the Post Office at the height of the Depression, he chose to be a letter carrier instead of a clerk so he could be out meeting people, spreading his philosophy.

After World War II broke out, in 1942 he enlisted in the Army and served for three years, primarily as a mail clerk. He was awarded a good conduct medal and passed a sharpshooter exam. In 1945 he volunteered for another two years, completed Officer Candidate School and became a first lieutenant. He served on the Liberty ships bringing soldiers back from Europe, where his job was to entertain them and break the news that they would be sent to Japan for more fighting. He never told a soul.

When the war was over he met Betty Branner, a young beauty who had served as a Wave in the Navy, at an art class for returning vets. They married a year later.

After a year living in a cold-water flat on Second Avenue, where they bathed in the kitchen sink and shared a toilet with neighbors, they moved up to the “The Amalgamated” in the Bronx, a neighborhood of mostly non-religious “cultural” Jews. There they raised four children.

Lou worked days in the Post Office and actively pursued his photography at night and on weekends. He continuously showed his work in the local bakery window, had an inquiring photographer column in the local newspaper, did the annual school class pictures, weddings, bar mitzvahs, portraits, etc.

His photos were always of people — intimate, beautifully composed and crafted, portraits of children, teens, old people, his family and anyone who was lucky enough to meet him on the street with his ever-present camera around his neck. In the early years he lovingly and very skillfully developed all his own negatives and prints. Later on most of his work was in color, developed by others.

He retired from the Post Office in 1972 and devoted himself to teaching photography in schools in and around New York City, to children, teens and adults. He was a natural and eager teacher, always anxious to get people involved in photography and to get them to feel good about themselves. Some of these students went on to become successful photographers and many remained friends.

He started spending more time in Maine, where he and Betty had bought a house on Moody Mountain Road in 1970. Although he had spent his whole life in New York, he was drawn to Maine and its good, hardworking and honest people. After Sept. 11, 2001, they moved here permanently.

Lou was never happier than when he was in his home and on his land. Planting tomatoes, swimming in his pond, shooting pictures or drinking beer with one or several of his many, many friends.

After a laughter-filled visit with old friends, where he shared his philosophy and his peanut butter sandwich with their children, he lay back on his bed and was suddenly gone, apparently without any pain. While the world is a less colorful, less funny and less vibrant place without Lou (or Louie, as many called him), it is also a world that has been touched by him and his quirky form of wisdom. Every one of the thousands who knew him, even if just for a moment, are a bit more colorful themselves: more thoughtful and perhaps a bit more alive.

He is survived by three children, Bill, Ben and Lucy; and five grandchildren Merrill, Ruth, Rachel, Jacob and Emma.

He will be missed.

A memorial celebration of his life and a potluck dinner will be held Sunday Nov. 21, at 4 p.m. at the Searsmont Town Hall.

Arrangements are with Crabiel-Riposta Funeral Home, Belfast.

Online condolences may be offered to the family at ripostafh.com.