The Northern Westchester Examiner

Yorktown Resident, News Photographer Stan Gitner Dies at 85

We are part of The Trust Project


Stanley Gitner, a beloved community treasure and award-winning newspaper photographer, died Saturday at Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Cortlandt following a recent illness. He was 85.

Mr. Gitner and his cherished wife, Sonia, lived in Yorktown for more than half a century. During that time he volunteered for 53 years with the Yorktown Auxiliary Police, and served for 33 years as deputy director of the Town of Yorktown’s Office of Disaster and Emergency Services. But he is probably best known as being the roving spot news photographer for 15 years with the former North County News and most recently Examiner Media.

“He was always interested in what was happening,” Mrs. Gitner said about her husband’s nose for news. “Even as a teenager he used to go on his bicycle with a radio to the fire department in the city. That kept him going. He enjoyed doing it.”

Rick Davin, captain of the Yorktown Auxiliary Police for the last 30 years, said Mr. Gitner was the “eyes and ears” to the Police Department, who knew him on the scanner as badge #551. Every Halloween, Davin said Mr. Gitner would deliver coffee and donuts to his fellow Auxiliary Police members as they patrolled the streets of Yorktown to control mischief.

“That was always a highlight of Halloween,” Davin said. “The thing that always amazed me was his energy level. Stan always had an energy level that exceeded everyone I knew. Taking pictures and developing pictures kept him going. Even to his last day he was sharp.”

Mr. Gitner was born on February 3, 1929 in Brooklyn to Rebecca and Frank Gitner. He graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn and, in 1952, from City College of New York, where he majored in motion picture film technology, a major created specifically for him. For more than 30 years he worked repairing and restoring motion picture film, including classic Walt Disney movies. He was a longtime member of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.

Mr. Gitner married Sonia Auerbach of the Bronx on January 27, 1951. They had three sons, Fred of Manhattan, Barry of Morgan Hill, California and Henry of Goshen, all of whom survive. From 1976 to 1982, Mr. Gitner and his wife ran a movie theater in Rockland County for six years. They also would screen films for neighbors in their home.

From 1984 to 1986, the couple also owned a dry cleaning business in downtown Peekskill. “He was very good at removing stains,” Mrs. Gitner noted.

Mr. Gitner’s true passion was being a newspaper photographer and he was recognized for his work by the New York Press Association. He would also regularly call in breaking news to local radio station WHUD/WLNA.

In 2011, he was honored by the Yorktown Town Board for his 50 years of tireless continuous service, an accomplishment unmatched in the town.

“He was such a wonderful person,” said Yorktown Councilman Vishnu Patel. “He was so dedicated to the community.”

A longtime member of the Yorktown Jewish Center, Mr. Gitner was also honored by many local volunteer fire departments and ambulance corps and was an honorary life member of both the Yorktown and Mohegan Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

Herman Shulz, former longtime owner of Yorktown Auto Body and a close friend of Mr. Gitner, recalled first meeting him more than 50 years ago after he had struck a deer with his vehicle on the Taconic State Parkway.

“He became very quickly a fixture in the community,” Shulz said. “He was always there to do what was right for anyone at any time. You could trust your life in him and he always believed in the good in everyone. He was a very special person. He’ll be really missed.”

Besides his three sons and daughters-in-law Joanne of California and Debra of Goshen, Mr. Gitner is survived by grandchildren Jessica of St. Louis, MO, Andrew of Denver, CO and Christopher, a student at Purchase College (SUNY); step-grandchildren Scott Choy of Scarsdale, and Alyson (Perry) Ganz of Natick, MA; and three step-great-grandchildren, Tyler, Zachary and Leah Ganz.

Funeral services were held Monday at Yorktown Funeral Home in Shrub Oak, followed by burial at King David Cemetery in Putnam Valley. Contributions in Mr. Gitner’s memory can be made to either Hudson Valley Hospital Center, 1980 Crompond Road, Cortlandt Manor, NY 10567; Yorktown Volunteer Ambulance Corps, P.O. Box 104, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598; or Mohegan Volunteer Fire Association Ambulance Corps, P.O. Box 162, Mohegan Lake, NY 10547.





We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.