Friday, December 9, 2005

TERRY KEETER DIES

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2005 at 4:00 AM

Terry Keeter, longtime political reporter for The Commercial Appeal and impresario of annual Gridiron shows which funded journalism scholarships, died Thursday night at Methodist Hospital Central of complications of a long-term pulmonary illness.

Keeter had been largely homebound or confined to a wheel-chair for the last several years. A sufferer from emphysema and chronic pulmonary disease, he contracted pneumonia eight years ago and – though he made occasional public appearances thereafter -- never fully recovered from the effects of the combined illnesses.

His longtime close friend, state Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder, said Keeter had experienced a bout of low blood pressure Thursday morning, and was transported from his midtown home to the hospital during the course of the day when his condition worsened. Justice Holder and her mother Sylvia Holder were among several friends who, over the years, had regularly looked in on Keeter.

Until he was sidelined by illness, Keeter, 66 at the time of his death, was a well-connected, well-informed reporter of the old school who knew everyone in politics there was to know, as well as everything they did worth knowing, both public and private. He and longtime sidekick Larry Williams were for several years mainstays of the Gridison shows, collaborating both on skit preparation and on several comic routines which they performed together.

Keeter's satirical writing had bite, and he was surprisingly capable as a song-and-dance man. A graduate Ole Miss, he did television work in Mississippi before coming to Memphis with the C.A.

Ornery but loveable, bawdy but extraordinarily considerate, Keeter had loyal friends throughout the worlds of media and politics.

Stepson Jeff Jacobs said that visititation will be from 12 to 3 on Sunday afternoon at Memphis Funeral Home, with funeral services to be held there at 1 p.m. Monday. A wake is also planned; further details will be published here as soon as they become available.

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