Regene "Reggie" Radniecki was a student at the University of Minnesota in 1972 when she was hired as a summer replacement photographer at the Minneapolis Tribune. It wasn't long before she started making waves.
Assigned to shoot Minnesota Twins' games, she accused the team of sex discrimination for barring women from the hospitality room where journalists ate and drank. It prompted a column by the Minneapolis Star's Jim Klobuchar.
"What sex discrimination?" Tom Mee, the Twins' public relations director, told Klobuchar. "It's our room. Private. We have the right to say it's for men only."
The incident foreshadowed Radniecki's long career, in which equity issues were important to her.
"She was never afraid of anything," said her sister, Renay Radniecki of Crescent City, Calif. "She definitely was a feminist."
Radniecki, who developed dementia a few years ago, died Aug. 30 at a care center in Brookings, Ore. She was 74.
A native of Thief River Falls, Minn., Radniecki grew up on a farm and went to high school in Oklee, Minn. She received her journalism degree from the University of Minnesota while working for the Tribune.
Radniecki was honored numerous times for her work in her 18 years with the Tribune. Her coverage included writing about and photographing rural life in Poland, where she had relatives, and taking photos during the American Indian Movement occupation at Wounded Knee, S.D., in 1973.
Her photograph of Twins star Rod Carew sliding on his belly into second base — and coming up short — appeared in the anthology "Best Sports Stories 1973." The book's editors included a paragraph on the photo — and identified her as a man.
Radniecki believed she was the first woman journalist ever to gain access to the Minnesota Vikings' locker room. In a 1972 article for the Tribune, she wrote that the last woman to hold a job like hers in the Twin Cities had quit 26 years before.
"Since then, I have been told, no woman — until me — has even applied for the job," she added.
Former Tribune photographer Richard Olsenius said the men working in the newspaper's photo department "were not fully ready to accept a woman with a strong will. I think it was difficult for her."
Mike Zerby, a retired Star Tribune photographer, said that Radniecki "felt she couldn't progress in her career at the paper."
Radniecki left the Tribune, which by then had merged with the Minneapolis Star, in 1990 to earn a master's degree at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. She then taught photojournalism at various schools including Bemidji State University, the University of Missouri, the University of St. Thomas and Minnesota State University Moorhead, where she taught for 14 years before retiring in 2014.
"She took a keen interest in the work of her students," said Martin Grindeland, a retired professor at the School of Communication and Journalism at MSU Moorhead. "She was able to help them produce excellent photographic work."
Mark Strand, professor emeritus in the same department, said Radniecki developed a student-produced online magazine, "HorizonLines," that won many awards.
Besides Bowman, Radniecki is survived by her mother, Elaine, of Staples, Minn.; brothers Keith, of Verndale, Minn., and Charles, of Coon Rapids; and sisters Beth Raebel, of Hudson, Wis., and Paula, of Chesapeake, Va. A celebration of life will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Johnson Funeral Service, 105 Governor St., Oklee.
Staff librarian John Wareham contributed to this report.