Ellen McKeefe, an Emmy-nominated television news producer who was one of the early women behind the scenes during a long career at NBC News, died August 7, 2023 in Sarasota, Florida of cancer. She was 78.
Ellen Mary McKeefe was born in Georgetown, Washington DC on September 16, 1944 to Charlotte (Parker) and Francis McKeefe and lived most of her youth in upstate New York.
She graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in Fine Arts, minoring in Renaissance Art History, in 1966. She began her career working for a magazine doing layout and production. This led to writing, story editing, and film production for the US Department of the Interior in Washington and, subsequently, her start as a field producer at NBC News in New York in 1974. During her years with NBC News Ellen covered events in Washington, Rome, New York, Boston, Miami, London, the Middle East and Central/South America serving variously as news producer, bureau chief and on-scene manager at major domestic and foreign news events. While at NBC News, Ellen interrupted her news career for a year-long sabbatical in Bologna, Italy, where she studied Italian and volunteered in an art restoration studio.
After retirement from NBC News, Ellen lived in Sarasota and continued freelance television news and sports production for NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, Fox, ESPN, National Geographic and others. She viewed one of her most significant professional accomplishments as covering the aftermath of the worst terrorist attack on US soil, September 11, 2001, where she organized and managed the field production for ABC News at Huffmann Aviation in Venice Florida, a training site of the terrorists.
Ellen was a gifted painter. Watercolor painting in Sarasota and Italy became a passion, along with sailing, and birding in Florida and Scotland.
She is survived by her sister, Ann Rezek of Lake Suzy, Florida, her nieces, nephew and their families.
For many years Ellen was a volunteer Audubon's Society birding guide at Sarasota's Celery Fields Nature Center. Memorial contributions may be made in her name on line at: https://www.sarasotaaudubon.org/donate/
Our deepest condolences to the McKeefe family and friends from the Sound Choice Cremation team.
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