Print this story

Marianne Killackey. The quiet force behind the camera.

POSTED January 20, 2015
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

The Killackey Family. (F) Sons Tom and Bob. (B) Marianne and Robert. Marianne has become one of the top photographers in the area. Tim Gaffney tells her story.

TORRINGTON: It started with birds.

It’s blossomed into a significant impact hobby/job that she truly loves to do and is simply a perfectionist at.

I’m talking about Marianne Killackey, a Torrington staple who didn’t grow up here but is putting together one heck of a resume that could earn her a permanent spot in T-Town.

If you have gone to anything that has to do with Torrington High School sporting events, plays, band events or banquets, Killackey is right there, humbly taking terrific pictures and creating memories for generations of people all over.

Let’s face it, the old expression that a picture is worth a thousand words holds as true today as it ever did. Our ability to see them has multiplied exponentially in the world of social media we find ourselves in.

Any hack with a digital (myself included) can come away with a decent picture but to find someone who takes the time to make sure only the best see the light of our site, Facebook, Twitter or a newspaper, takes a caring heart.

One like Killackey who started this unlikely career while pulling off the hardest job out there, one of a wife raising her two boys while her husband served his country for nearly half his lifetime.

Bob Killackey, also a staple at THS events or helping coach and train local kids, is a third generation Marine who understands who had the harder of two jobs while he was away on duty.

“Marianne would be the one at home talking care of the boys,” Killackey said. “An awful lot is left to the spouse of someone who serves in the military and she was then and always will be the rock of our family.”

The Killackey’s are originally from Yonkers, New York and have two boys, Robert (22) and Tom (17).

Robert (who would be an III but this is not that kind of family) is wrapping up his final year at Norwich University with plans to keep the family tradition of service going.

Tom is finishing his senior year at Torrington High School where he has left his mark in the music scene and continues to do so on a much larger scale.

The youngest Killackey plays the trumpet so well he is front and center anytime anyone needs the National Anthem played at a sporting event (before his Raiders soccer team games) or ceremony anywhere.

He is in high demand and has been making trips to New York City over the last few months training at the prestigious Lincoln Center Youth Orchestra with the likes of Wynton Marsalis, he of The Tonight Show fame.

Pretty heady stuff.

There, each and every step of the way, is mom who makes sure these strong minded and spirited men (all 3) keep it together over the very busy landscape that is their life.

How did Marianne go from Military Mom to stellar photographer?   

It started with taking pictures of birds on base while her husband was deployed.

If you see any of her photo’s taking in her backyard in Torrington on Facebook, you know her love of nature and those who fly around it is still a passion.

When the Killackey family moved to Torrington and the boys started school, Marianne started to take pictures of their events on and off the field.

Gradually things grew to the point that she would be asked to take Senior Day pictures or special event shoots that helped her grow in skill.

I’ll never forget her taking pictures last summer for us of the entire Torrington Titans team. 26 players plus coaches.

Your average photo bum gets that gig done in about 15 minutes. Your average photo person will never be what Marianne Killackey is mistaken for.

Each pose, pitcher or batter, had to be perfect with sunlight, shadows and expressions just right. Took a little more than an hour but the perfectionist would not settle for second best.

I first started to see the impact the years of taken photographs of the different sports or events that she covered when I would attend any number of post season banquets that no doubt would include hundreds of her pictures that would stay forever with the families lucky enough to have them.  

Her work has not gone unnoticed by the coaches she is on the sidelines with, like Raider girls soccer coach, Mario Longobucco.

“It’s always nice to see someone doing something they enjoy and succeeding at it. Marianne started like any other mom, taking pictures of her kids playing sports. Little did she know when her kids got to THS, she would become the official unofficial photographer of the Red Raiders.” Longobucco said. “And that’s all the Red Raiders. Not just the teams her sons played on, but the band, the plays, girls sports, boys sports, award nights.”

Longobucco also knows that the day did not end fast for the dedicated Killackey downloaded her lot of pictures.

“I know for certain many, many kids and parents enjoy seeing her photos on Facebook, Litchfield County Sports website or that of the Register-Citizen. I always chuckle to myself when I see 1 of 250 photos on one of her postings. I know she had a busy night, but that she also enjoyed herself at the same time.”

Her husband described the procedure, one that sometimes run late into the night or early into the next day.

“Marianne will download the pictures onto her computer but then sits on the floor as she reviews them on our big screen,” Killackey said, “She filters through the ones that don’t make the cut until she finds the ones that work.”

It is often said that if you love something, it’s not work. Count Killackey as one of the fortunate ones who understands that but is not one looking for the spotlight herself; she would rather keep it shining brightly on her immediate family and her ever growing larger community family as well.

“I’m glad LCS is recognizing Marianne’s contribution to not only our local sports scene, but to just about every student at Torrington High School. I’m a big fan of Marianne’s work and the way in which she gives of her time,” the appreciative soccer coach said, “We need more of her type.”

Pretty high praise from a fellow dedicated THS supporter, parent and coach who understands what her family has felt all along.

For more from Timothy W. Gaffney click here