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Published: Sunday, 1/23/2005

Photographer found niche with portraits of student-athletes

James E. Lane, 53, whose photo portraits of Toledo area student-athletes graced buttons, trading cards, and game programs, died of cancer Thursday in his West Toledo home.

He and his wife, Jean, ran Jim Lane Photography, on West Sylvania Avenue, until September. His specialty was photographing athletes who took part in junior high school, high school, and club sports.

We watched many of them grow up and then come back as coaches themselves, his wife said. The kids were always fun, the parents were always fun. We had a lot of nice people we dealt with.

The couple discovered the niche early on, and there was enough demand to sustain the business. The couple passed out flyers at first, advertising their brand of sports photography.

You just work very hard and word of mouth will travel if you give good service, his wife said. He was a good, honorable man. The quantity of business didn t matter as much as doing business honorably.

He took the pictures. She kept the books and made sure customers got what they ordered.

I can t understand why anyone would want to marry someone they wouldn t want to be with 24 hours a day, his wife said.

He was a graduate of Woodward High School.

Mr. Lane was a welder. But after a motorcycle accident, he decided it was time to change careers, his wife said. He decided to do something he always wanted to do.

He took photography seminars and studied with local photographers.

He loved working with the camera. He loved working with film, his wife said.

Mr. Lane and his son, James II, restored cars and trucks as a pastime. He especially liked deer hunting every year in southern Ohio.

Mr. Lane, a North Toledo native, spent summers as a child with his sister Barbara and her husband, George Armistead a career Marine at Parris Island, S.C. She died about 18 months ago.

Surviving are his wife, Jean, whom he married July 19, 1977; son, James II; and sisters, Dolores Garrison and Mattie Stoll.

There will be no visitation or services. Arrangements are by the H.H. Birkenkamp Mortuary.

The family suggests tributes to the Hospice of Northwest Ohio.

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