Friends, family, team gather under Friday night lights to honor Wichita photographer

Friends, family and the Wichita Northwest Grizzles came together under Friday night lights to honor Linda Gregory.
Published: Sep. 8, 2023 at 10:10 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Friends, family and the Wichita Northwest Grizzles came together under Friday night lights to honor a beloved local photographer who died Friday at a Wichita hospital from injuries sustained Monday in a sideline collision.

Friday afternoon, Linda Gregory’s husband, Mel, announced his wife’s death at the hospital where she’d been on life support since suffering a traumatic brain injury early this week. The injury happened while she was shooting photos at a junior varsity football game for Wichita Northwest. Linda was a staple on the sidelines of Wichita Northwest games. Among the school and in her community, it’s an understatement to say Linda Gregory was well-known and loved. For years, Linda and Mel Gregory spent many hours shooting photos of Wichita Northwest High School athletes.

Friday night, the varsity football team honored Linda with “L-G” stickers on their helmets. The game at Wichita Heights also included a moment of silence for her before kickoff.

At Friday’s game, Northwest students remembered Linda as a talented photographer who always had a smile on her face.

A fellow photographer recalled meeting her at a game featuring Wichita Heights and Wichita Northwest. He said he asked her questions about how she was shooting the game and recalled how she graciously shared information.

“She was always a source of information for me,” he said.

Earlier this week, Joanna Chadwick, a longtime journalist and teacher who’s dedicated much of her career to covering high school sports and whose husband used to coach at Northwest, recalled how a follow on Twitter and a chance meeting at a store led to a cherished friendship with Linda and Mel Gregory.

“That spawned the friendship and suddenly they became part of the family,” she said.

It’s a bond that many share with the couple.

“You know, you think about how a friendship can happen like that and you think about, ‘Linda and Mel love me, they love my family,’” Chadwick said. “But it wasn’t just us.”

For those that don’t know Linda Gregory…

“I can’t even explain it enough to people that didn’t know here, how many people she touched,” Chadwick said.

Mel was among the crowd at Wichita Northwest’s game at Heights Friday night, there to honor his wife.

“She was a really good woman,” Mel said. “I was married to her for 23 years and (I) never had any hard times, never had any hard times with her. She and I were kind of like a team, always. And it’s tough to lose her.”