Longtime 'Tennessean' columnist Gail Kerr has died - WSMV Channel 4

Longtime 'Tennessean' columnist Gail Kerr has died

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Tennessean columnist Gail Kerr (Photo by: George Walker IV / THE TENNESSEAN) Tennessean columnist Gail Kerr (Photo by: George Walker IV / THE TENNESSEAN)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Nashville has lost one of its best-known voices in print. Gail Kerr, a longtime columnist for The Tennessean, died Tuesday.

Kerr spent her entire professional life at The Tennessean, her hometown newspaper, starting as a copy girl in 1978 while she was still in high school.

After graduating from what is now Rhodes College in Memphis, she returned to the paper in 1983 as a beat reporter and later served as city editor.

Kerr began writing her regular column in 2000.

Her final column, which appeared last week, called members of the state House "boneheaded" for voting to delay implementation of Common Core education standards.

She was being treated for cancer, and it appears she died of a blood clot at age 52.

Kerr was an influential voice in Nashville who held public figures accountable and was passionate about her craft.

She had the gift of an insatiable curiosity and was a mentor to many young journalists.

"She had her fingers on the pulse on the community as few journalist do. She could write about people in trouble, people that had tragedy or great joys. She could write about religious celebrations, hard-nosed politics or crime. She had done it all as a reporter, so she was so well prepared," said John Seigenthaler, longtime editor of The Tennessean. "It's a great loss. For me, I feel a great personal loss. But I think the paper and her readers are really going to miss her."

In a statement, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander said:

"Gail Kerr always spoke her mind, and always with wisdom – whether you agreed with her or not. Her reporting and her columns were fresh and in touch with everyday living. Nashville will miss her voice."

And a series of tweets from U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper read:

"Gail Kerr was probably the most trusted person in Nashville. Everyone read her columns and believed what she said. You didn't have to agree with Gail to love her. She was Nashville's finest."

Click to read more from The Tennessean.

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