She was famous for her photographs but known for her smile and passion for TCU. Linda Kaye, 65, who died from uterine cancer Sunday, Oct. 7, 2007, broke through gender boundaries in her profession and established herself as one of the first great woman photographers.
Her brother Roger Kaye said she ignored social norms and therefore succeeded in overcoming the gender barrier.
Ron Heflin, an Associated Press staff photographer who worked with Ms. Kaye, said when the Dallas Cowboys played in the Cotton Bowl, women were not allowed on the sidelines so Ms. Kaye couldn’t go. However, she overcame these gender issues because she knew what she wanted and went after it, Heflin said.
Chancellor Victor Boschini, a friend of Ms. Kaye, said she wanted to pursue photojournalism because she wanted the power photographers have. Ms. Kaye told Boschini photographers could get anywhere with their passes and she wanted that.
But it took more than a press pass to work her way in.
Ms. Kaye’s good friend Al Panzera, widely known among sports photographers, was her key to “getting in,” Heflin said. Ms. Kaye would shadow Panzera at games and meet people through him.
Heflin said that was Ms. Kaye’s way. She got to know people, and people got to know her, and that was how Ms. Kaye made herself acceptable, he said.
Eric Gay, an Associated Press staff photographer who worked alongside Ms. Kaye for many years, said Ms. Kaye could do anything any man would do, and she never once saw herself as being a woman in a man’s world.
She loved photography and that’s probably why she was so good at her job, Gay said.
“Losing Kaye is a great loss as a friend and a great loss to her profession,” Gay said.
Ms. Kaye, who worked closely with TCU athletics, rarely missed a game or a chance to stand on the sidelines.
“Linda Kaye is a TCU legend and we are deeply saddened by her death,” athletics director Danny Morrison said. “With the many outstanding images Linda captured through the years, her work will forever be remembered.”
There is no doubt Ms. Kaye touched the lives of many different people, Morrison said, including athletes, coaches, staff, alumni and fans.
Ms. Kaye graduated from TCU in 1963 and has been a TCU photographer since her freshman year in 1959. Her brother Roger Kaye said she has accumulated an impressive collection through the years, including an autographed photo of every U.S. President since President Johnson.
But more astonishing to her brother was the number of people who came by to see Ms. Kaye before she died. Ms. Kaye underwent surgery in 2002 for uterine cancer but it reappeared a year ago.
“She made a real emotional connection with people,” Roger Kaye said.
Ms. Kaye’s visitors included many from the TCU community and she received calls from former Texas Rangers pitcher Nolan Ryan and President Bush while she was hospitalized.
Ryan was the subject of one of Ms. Kaye’s iconic photographs when he fought on the pitcher’s mound with Robin Ventura of the Chicago White Sox in 1993 and she got to know Bush when he owned the Texas Rangers, which she regularly covered.
A White House spokesperson said the president and Mrs. Bush said Ms. Kaye’s family was in their prayers.
“Linda Kaye was a beloved Texan, her photographs chronicled her passion for sports, especially TCU sports,” the spokesperson said. “She took some of the most well known photographs of Texas sports figures over the years and her keen eye behind the lens will be sorely missed.”
The connection she made is now more apparent than ever after Ms. Kaye was inducted into the Schieffer School of Journalism Hall of Excellence last week. Tommy Thomason, director of the Schieffer School of Journalism, said Ms. Kaye will officially be inducted next fall.
Ms. Kaye will be buried at 2 p.m. today at the Ahavath Sholom Hebrew Cemetery at 415 N. University Drive.