Over the weekend, the Southcentral Kentucky community lost a friend and beloved photographer in Paul Gray. Friends and family from all over the area joined together to pay homage to Paul's life in Bowling Green.
"He was a great man," said one of Gray's physical therapy patients.
Paul Gray was one of many things, and great is just one adjective to describe the man who found his calling in physical therapy, but his passion through photography.
On Thursday at Bowling Green High School, people from throughout the Southcentral Kentucky community gathered to pay their respects, say one final goodbye, and thank Gray for the legacy and impact he leaves behind.
"Always smiling, always happy, there to help people," said his former patient. "Just a bigger than life person."
"It's special and people are going to remember that. He was a guy that went out of his way and did everything he could for any and everybody," said former WKU and Bowling Green High School football player Nacarius Fant, who developed a special relationship with the late photographer. "He was always there to lend a helping hand and be there for anybody, especially the athletes and the community. He took care of everybody."
A Hilltopper alum and former manager of the men's basketball team, Gray became well-recognized by his Santa-like appearance, and just like the big man in red, Paul had a jolly personality, but also shared gifts with all he encountered. The only difference is that Gray's gifts were the sports photos he would go out of his way to shoot, and then make sure he got those pictures to the student-athletes after their games as a way of giving them a keepsake of their special moment captured in time.
"He's gonna be greatly missed," said Bowling Green Football Head Coach Mark Spader. "I don't think he's anybody you could ever replace as far as he what he brought to our community."
"I was the one over there who said, 'Hey, man, can you send those to me?' He made sure he went over and beyond to make sure that I got those photos and make sure that from high school all the way up to college at WKU," Fant said.
While some might remember Paul for his photography or his work as a physical therapist, most will remember him for his love of the game, outgoing personality, and his truly kind and compassionate nature. He will be dearly missed by everyone in this community.
Visitation continues tomorrow from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. inside the Bowling Green High School gym, with the funeral service to follow afterwards.