NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Nancy Quirk Keefe, an award-winning journalist and longtime columnist for Gannett newspapers, died Wednesday of breast cancer, according to The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Mass. She was 69.
A Pittsfield native, Ms. Keefe spent most of her career as a journalist with Gannett newspapers, starting in 1976 as Sunday coordinator for the former Standard-Star in New Rochelle and ending as a columnist for what is now The Journal News.
She also worked for The Berkshire Eagle and the New York World Telegram and Sun, according to The Eagle. She retired in 1998.
In 1983, Ms. Keefe was named top columnist by the New York State Associated Press Association among state newspapers with a circulation of more than 125,000.
As editorial page editor for The Journal News, Ms. Keefe was known for her honest criticism of politicians, her defense of the disenfranchised, and her sense of humor.
Former Governor Mario Cuomo, who considered Ms. Keefe a friend, called her an honest journalist who "was very tough on me."
She was born on Nov. 20, 1934, to John and Ann O'Laughlin Quirk. Her father was an employee at The Eagle, and her mother was a copy editor there. When Ms. Keefe was 9, she submitted her first story to The Eagle and was paid $1 for it.
Ms. Keefe leaves her husband, three children, and three granchildren.