Kelly Leiter, former UT dean of communications, dies

Barnard Kelly Leiter, former dean of the College of Communication and Information at the University of Tennessee and a one-time reporter for the Chicago Daily News, among other publications, remained a journalist even after his death last week at age 89.

It turns out, Mr. Leiter had carefully crafted his own four-page typed obituary and sent it to his friend and lawyer, Rick Hollow, in 2009.

“The four pages relating to my unimpressive trek through life may seem a bit overindulgent. (Like who really cares.),” Mr. Leiter wrote in an accompanying letter, which Hollow was instructed to open only after its author’s death. “But I’m including it so that if anyone should ask you, you will have it on hand.”

His close friend and fellow former UT dean, Dwight Teeter, upon learning about the self-penned obituary, laughed.

“He was a journalist to the core, and you might as well get it right,” Teeter said.

Mr. Leiter, who had never married, was found dead Saturday by another close friend, Teeter said. He was discovered in bed “as if he was reading,” Teeter said.

Mr. Leiter was born Oct. 25, 1925, in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended Indiana University and twice served in the Navy, first as an enlisted 17-year-old seaman during World War II and again as a reservist during the Korean War.

After completing his second tour of service in the Pacific, he began his newspaper career in Rockford, Ill. Mr. Leiter went on to a 15-year career as a reporter, feature writer, columnist and editor at the Indianapolis News, the Chicago Daily News, the Washington Star and the Hialeah (Fla.) Home News. He also served as a Midwest correspondent for Life magazine.

Full Story: Barnard Kelly Leiter

Attribution: Megan Boehnke -

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