Donna Kelley, a longtime reporter and anchor for Little Rock-based radio station KARN, died Sunday. She was 66.
Bob Steel, the news director at KARN radio, said his staff was spending part of Monday morning reminiscing.
“We’re sad, but we’re telling Donna stories, and we’re laughing,” he said.
Steel said Kelley's husband told him a neighbor found Kelley lying on her apartment floor. Paramedics pronounced her dead when they arrived.
Her husband told Steel she died of natural causes.
Kelley had worked at a KARN for 14 years, coming to Little Rock from Orlando. She appeared weekday afternoons on The Doc Washburn Show and recorded newscasts for the station.
Battling arthritis and recovering from three hip surgeries in the past year, she was often forced to stay in the newsroom for most of her work. But Steel said that hardly slowed Kelley, who enjoyed interviewing over the phone.
“She was a go-getter even though she did most of her work from her desk,” Steel said. “She’d interview so many people that she’d have leftovers.”
Steel remembered her deadline-driven attitude at work and how she protected her sources, chuckling when he described how she would get upset when someone else at the station would call one of them.
Keith Liesmann, the market manager at Cumulus Broadcasting, which owns KARN, issued a statement Sunday about Kelley’s death.
"All of us at Cumulus are tremendously saddened by the sudden and shocking passing of Donna Kelley," he said in the statement. "Donna was an outstanding reporter/anchor who served with the highest degree of journalistic integrity at KARN for a decade and a half. Donna was at her happiest when she was working on a news story and never let anything keep her from getting her job done. She was a friend to everyone she worked with. We will all miss her."
Steel said there are not yet plans for a memorial service to remember Kelley, whom he called a “consummate journalist.”
“She loved her work and really lived her work,” he said.