Maurice Jones, left, who was 68, worked as a freelancer for the Bolton News in the 1990s after spending 33 years as a PE teacher at George Tomlinson School in Kearsley.
He quickly developed a reputation as a first class sports photographer and went on to work for Leigh Centurions Rugby League club.
Even after being diagnosed with stomach cancer in April last year, Maurice was said to be as energetic and passionate about photography as ever.
Hi wife Vi told Bolton News: “He always had his camera with him. When we went out on holiday he would find me somewhere hot to relax and then he would be off taking photos of all sorts of things.
“He would be running up and down the sidelines at Leigh Centurions — he was so positive and always lived life to the full,” added Vi.
The couple got married in 1980 having met at the school where Maurice was teaching.
They have two daughters, Laura, aged 31, and Gemma, aged 29, as well as a grandson, Finn, who is 10 months old.
Roy Bolton, who was assistant picture editor at The Bolton News while Maurice worked for the newspaper, said: “Maurice was a real professional and a true gentleman.”