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Katie Kelly, Albion native and TV celebrity, dies at 81

Katie Kelly seen here in a photo from 1987, during a time when she worked for “Entertainment Tonight.”

By Gabby Christensen
Albion native Katie Kelly had big dreams and aspirations that ultimately led her all the way to the bright lights of New York City.
Kelly’s claim to fame was journalism.
The former TV and newspaper reporter passed away Friday, May 4, at the age of 81 in Omaha from Alzheimer’s disease.
Kelly’s love for journalism dates back to high school, where she was the editor for the Albacard and editor of the Cardinal staff.
Kelly worked at the Albion News for a brief period and it was Jack Lough, publisher and editor of the Albion News at that time, who pushed Kelly to pursue a career in journalism.
With this advice in hand, the soon-to-be star received a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and eventually worked for the New York Post, as well as Time magazine.
Kelly, who first began a career in television in the 1980s, was featured on “The Today Show” and “Entertainment Tonight.”
Kelly wrote a total of five books, one regarding a time when she traveled to Vietnam to teach Amerasian children.
A former high school classmate of Kelly’s, Keith Stewart of Albion, said the two were good pals back in the day.
“We used to roll around in cars like all the kids did,” Stewart said. “We had a number of classes together, including journalism—which was a big deal for her.”
Stewart said Kelly ‘climbed the ladder fast’ and was extremely successful. But, while some remember her for her celebrity status, Stewart remembers Kelly as a kind and helpful classmate.
“Truthfully, she’s the one who got me through English class,” Stewart said. “She was just a terrific person and a good buddy of mine.”

Read the complete story in the May 16 Albion News & Petersburg Press, Print and E-Editions.