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Tucson journalist Will Seberger dead at 33

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One of Tucson's finest journalists, photographer Will Seberger, died unexpectedly Sunday night at his home.

Seberger, 33, was a freelancer who had worked for, among others, the Wall Street Journal, TIME, Mother Jones, the Center for Investigative Reporting, El Universal, High Country News, Arizona Public Media, the Arizona Daily Star, and TucsonSentinel.com.

His lanky frame was omnipresent wherever there was news in Arizona, as he sometimes completed assignments in Nogales and Flagstaff on the same day. Although he had a special talent with a camera, Seberger — who called himself a "visual journalist" — also did written work and had a special knack for interviewing people.

Related: Photos: The lens of Will Seberger

Seberger's photos could capture a moment of quiet contemplation amid the chaos of a rodeo, and even find a fleeting dynamic angle as yet another politician stepped up to yet another lectern — no matter whether it was the U.S. president or a hapless legislative candidate. Rich or poor, powerful or striving for a better life, each person he photographed was given dignity and respect.

A University of Arizona journalism graduate, Seberger grew up near Chicago and could often be found surreptitiously watching a Black Hawks game on his phone while covering a long school board meeting.

Although he was the undisputed champion when reporters traded cynical remarks, no one was ever more enthusiastic about tackling a challenging story, large or small.

In his too-brief career, he helped show the world how Tucson sees itself. In images from his work for ZUMA Press and the McClatchy-Tribune wire services picked up by numerous national and international news outlets, Seberger's work gave depth to reporting on the border, drug smuggling, and Arizona's political scene. If the mass media noticed something happening in Southern Arizona, there's a pretty good chance one of his pictures would be part of the story.

His work wasn't exclusively local. Covering the Lost Boys took him from Tucson to South Sudan in 2009 as that nation prepared for the elections that would lead to its independence. He was named an honorary member of the Dinka tribe after helping save the life of a badly burned toddler there.

Other reporting trips found him delving into the lives of coffee-growers in Chiapas, Mexico, riding Border Patrol helicopters along the U.S.-Mexico line, and following wildland firefighters as they battled some of the largest fires in Arizona history, and spending a day shadowing presidential hopeful Rick Santorum.

Seberger is survived by his wife, Andrea Kelly, his parents Linda and Donald Seberger of Libertyville, Ill., and his brother John Seberger of Long Beach, Calif.

Arrangements are pending.

Rest in peace, brother.

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Aug 19, 2014, 7:14 am
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Will was my college roommate, I claim part responsibility for his cynical outlook. Will miss you brother. RIP, George

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Click image to enlarge

Seberger in May, via Facebook.

A Celebration of Will Seberger's Life

The Seberger family is holding a celebration of Will's life at 7-10 p.m. Thursday at Danny's Baboquivari Lounge, 2910 E Fort Lowell Rd. The event will include a slideshow of his photography.

Donations

Donations to assist with the cost of arrangements can be made to an account set up for the family:

  • Wells Fargo Bank
  • Account name: Andrea Kelly
  • Account number 6461140896
  • Routing number: 122105278

Any amount left over after arrangements are paid for will be donated to a charity to be chosen by Seberger's wife, Andrea Kelly.

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