Joseph Durinzi, 71; owned photo studio

Posted: November 21, 2001

Joseph Durinzi, 71, of King of Prussia, cofounder of Carl Wolf photography studio, died Thursday of complications from a respiratory infection at Montgomery Hospital in Norristown.

For nearly 50 years, Durinzi owned and operated the studio, which specialized in graduation photos.

Carl Wolf Studio has taken pictures of students from colleges and universities including Temple, Villanova, Drexel and West Chester, along with nearly every graduate of Philadelphia Archdiocese high schools since the mid-1960s.

Mr. Durinzi began his photo career shortly after he graduated from St. Thomas More High School, when he started working as an assistant at a West Philadelphia studio.

In 1951, he married Theresa McCann - who died in 1978 - and started working for the Zamsky Studio, then a Center City photo business specializing in school portraits. At Zamsky, Mr. Durinzi met Carl Wolf, a veteran photographer. The two became friends and soon Mr. Durinzi encouraged Wolf to leave Zamsky with him so they could start their own business. Wolf told Mr. Durinzi he was crazy.

"Carl told my husband he was too young," said Fran Arpa Durinzi, Mr. Durinzi's wife. "But my husband was smart. He told Carl, 'You're not making enough money. I'm making as much as you are, and you've been here 25 years.' "

The two men opened the Carl Wolf Studio in November 1953. The company signed contracts with area schools and began taking photos of students throughout the region. When Wolf retired at age 65, Mr. Durinzi bought his share of the business.

In the 1970s, Mr. Durinzi also was a marketing executive for the Kinderphoto company, which set up picture studios in shopping malls. In the 1980s, he expanded the business to include photographers who would travel to colleges as far west as Michigan to take photos.

The studio was on Walnut Street in Center City until the early 1990s, when it moved to Sharon Hill.

Mr. Durinzi enjoyed running and completed three Boston Marathons. He finished one race with a personal best of two hours and 47 minutes. Mr. Durinzi would train for the race by running from his home in Drexel Hill to his studio in Center City. He would shower and dress for work when he arrived.

With a strong tenor voice, Mr. Durinzi sang in the chorus of several productions of the Philadelphia Grand Opera and the Philadelphia Civic Opera. He coached a Little League team and was awarded the Poor Richard's Club Christopher Columbus award, given to distinguished Americans of Italian heritage.

Besides his wife, Mr. Durinzi is survived by sons, Joseph F. and Michael E.; daughters, Marci A. Golfen, Celia Durinzi-Watson, Marianne Archambo, and Theresa Anne Durinzi; and 11 grandchildren.

A viewing will be held from 9:30 to 11 a.m. today at Robert L. D'Anjolell Memorial Home of Broomall, 2811 West Chester Pike, Broomall. A funeral will follow at 11 a.m. Burial will be in SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Sproul Road, Springfield.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Institute of Medical Preventics, 23121 Verdugo Dr., Suite 204, Laguna Hills, Calif. 92653.

Kristin E. Holmes' e-mail address is kholmes@phillynews.com.

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