We lost dear friend and family member Chris Kelly on June 2, 2020. Chris, a Houston based
journalist with over 30 years of experience as a filmmaker, television news
reporter, program host, and social activist was unwavering in her support of the people,
places, and causes she loved.
Chris spent seven years as a founding contributing editor for Condé Nast Traveler,
traversing the globe writing features and breaking travel news. Closer to home, she
served as Editor-in-Chief at Ultra Magazine, the 1980s Texas society bible owned by
legendary apartment developer Harold Farb; then at Houston Metropolitan Magazine,
the early 90s go-to lifestyle magazine; and finally at POLO Magazine, an international
Her work as a freelance writer included articles for GQ, Texas Monthly, The New York
Times, Traveler Overseas, Houston City Book, and Modern Luxury - Houston - where
she served as Senior Contributing Editor for nearly a decade.
Chris Kelly will be remembered as a fearless, documentary filmmaker who never shied
away from controversy. In her film, Black Sky, White Eagle, she exposed industrial
pollution in rural Oklahoma. Bringing important attention to an area carbon black plant
allegedly spoiling the environment of local Native Americans, who were subsequently
awarded a ten and a half million dollar settlement, in part due to her coverage of the
Another Chris Kelly film, Clearwater, One Woman’s Prayer, an hour-long documentary
for PBS about the global water crisis, was awarded the top prize for documentary
filmmaking at FotoFest 2004, with a special screening and awards ceremony at The
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Chris also produced and directed the documentary Lines for PBS on the renowned
calligraphist, Brody Neuschwander, who lives and works in Bruges, Belgium.
Chris dove head-first into all her projects, but George H.W. Bush – the documentary she
produced and directed for the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in
College Station, Texas – was among her favorites. She spent the better part of a
summer in Kennebunkport, Maine visiting with President and Mrs. Bush as they
watched their grandchildren play and talked about their lives, dreams, losses, and
achievements, and their hope for a united America. She was struck by their sense of
humor, their dignity, and, above all, their impeccable manners, which she regarded as
On September 11, 2001, Chris Kelly was on the ground in New York City, where she
reported live from near Ground Zero for the Fox Network as 9/11 erupted around her.
Chris Kelly’s freelance work includes biographical writing for Henry Cisneros, American
politician and businessman; and Charles Miller, founder and chair of The Center for the
Study of Community at Sol y Sombra – his home and de facto think tank in Santa Fe,
New Mexico that served as a frequent meeting place for political leaders, philosophers,
scientists, and citizen activists (among them, Chris Kelly herself).
She spent the last year working with legendary residential real estate queen Martha
Turner, recording and writing the memoirs of her life and storied journey as Houston’s
most glamorous real estate mogul in a yet to be named autobiography to be published
later this year.
Born Chris Ann Kelly in Wichita Falls, Texas, to friends and family, she was just Chris —
Aunt Chris, Mom, Queen of the Swans. It was evident from an early age that there was
something magical about Chris. One of seven girl cousins growing up, she was the
family entertainer, creating happiness with her plays and comedy performances, always
enchanting people, whether riding in horse shows or playing the role of Puck in A
Midsummer Night's Dream. Chris was the star.
She loved a good story more than anything and she listened like no other. Generous to
a fault, with a great sense of humor, she encouraged all of us to pursue our passions.
Always on the frontline cheering us on, always researching ideas for our projects,
always calling just the right people to ensure our success. Her family and friends will
miss her very much.
But the one who will miss her most of all is her darling son Jimmy. James Foster
Andrews III was her ultimate love and her pride and joy. Her devotion to him was
unwavering—Jimmy will continue to be loved by all around him, including his mother,
who will be with him forever in spirit.
Chris Kelly is survived by her son, James Foster Andrews III of Georgetown TX; his
father, Jim Andrews of Houston, TX; her sister, Connie Rose of Houston, TX; nephew
Frank Rose and wife Kara Duval of Santa Fe, NM; three cousins: Kathy Chambers of
Cypress, TX; Janet Hartwig of Albuquerque, NM; and Maria McBee of Dallas TX; and
her community of extended family and loyal friends.
Please consider a donation in Chris’s memory to the Rothko Chapel or to a charity of