Michele Kay of the Austin American-Statesman died Feb 16, 2011, after a four-decade career in journalism. She served as the business editor and reporter for the paper, as well as an editorial writer, Washington correspondent, and Texas State Capitol reporter. Political consultant Bill Miller described her as tough as nails, a reporter who didn’t put up with BS. Her stories were seen as correct, whether for or against an issue.
Kay was born in Egypt in 1944 but was exiled with her parents during the battle over the Suez Canel. War was again a part of life when she moved to VietNam where her husband became a prominent CBS cameraman, and Michele Kay worked for Pan American World Airways.
Her long and interesting international journalism career started when she became a reporter for the Hong Kong Standard. Later she worked for a magazine in Paris, then became editor of the Dallas/Fort Worth Business Journal in 1981, moving to Austin in 1988. She became a U.S. citizen in 1997.
Her last career was as assistant journalism professor and school newspaper adviser at St. Edward’s University, where she had earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree earlier.
She was a small woman of only five feet, who also had a soft side and a wide circle of friends. When she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, she fought it aggressively with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Her greatest joy during the final days of her illness was visits with her many friends, her husband, children and grandchildren.
A friend since Hong Kong, Carrie Rosenthal, said, “It was still way too early to go, but she lived life to the fullest. She didn’t waste time.”