Former Hamilton County Auditor Brigid Kelly dies: We lost a champion for our citizens and true public servant

Former Hamilton County Auditor Brigid Kelly dies: We lost a champion for our citizens and true public servant CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Brigid Kelly, who resigned less than a week ago as Hamilton County’s auditor, succumbed to her battle with cancer on Tuesday, according to a statement from her family sent out by county officials.

She was 40 years old.

“We sadly report that our dear one, Brigid Kelly, passed on Tuesday evening at home,” the statement reads.

“She was surrounded by love and peace after waging a two-year battle with cancer. Brigid’s failing health necessitated her recent resignation as Hamilton County Auditor. She was a treasured wife, daughter and sister, a valued friend and a true public servant. Funeral services are pending.”

Hamilton County Commissioners voted to accept it at their meeting on Thursday and swore in Chief Deputy Auditor Amy Humphrey as the interim auditor.

“Resigning from the Auditor’s Office is a difficult decision, but is necessary to focus on my personal health,” Kelly wrote in her resignation letter to county commissioners.

She has asked supporters to back State Rep. Jessica Miranda, D-Forest Park, as her replacement.

Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval called Kelly an “irreplaceable kind of spirit.”

“You always knew she was there, that she cared,” Pureval wrote in a post on his Facebook page. “That she would do what it took to help. She was a person who gave of herself, with the sole goal of helping others.”

County Commission President Alicia Reece said she was heartbroken after hearing of Kelly’s death.

“We lost a champion for our citizens and a true public servant, way too soon,” Reece said.

Sheriff Charmaine McGuffy called Kelly a true public servant, “who wanted the best for her community.”

“I’ve known Brigid for decades,” County Commissioner Denise Driehaus said at Thursday’s County Commission meeting. “Her entire adult life has been about fighting for what she believes in, dignity for others, fairness and justice.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and his wife, Fran DeWine, were also saddened to hear about the former auditor’s passing.

“Brigid dedicated much of her career to public service, first as a Norwood City Councilwoman, then as a State Representative, and then as Hamilton County Auditor. Like many who worked with her, I knew Brigid to be cordial, collaborative, and willing to work with both parties to help advance the interests of Ohioans. Fran and I extend our sincerest condolences to Brigid’s husband, Steve, and her entire family.”

Kelly replaced longtime auditor Dusty Rhodes in 2022 who held the office for over 30 years and didn’t seek re-election.

According to her resignation letter, Kelly said the office had reappraised 350,000 parcels of land in the county and was working to modernize the Board of Revision process. Other plans included increasing staff by creating more equity.

Born and raised in Norwood, Kelly began her career in politics as a Norwood City Council member before she was elected state representative from 2017 to 2022.

She ran for and won the auditor’s seat in the fall of 2022.

“I was incredibly saddened to learn about the tragic passing of Brigid Kelly last night,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Melissa Powers said in a statement Wednesday morning.

“She was a dynamic young woman with a strong commitment to public service. She was a devoted and steadfast servant to our county and known for her graceful leadership. She displayed tremendous bravery in her fight with cancer these past two years. I offer my deepest condolences to her family and loved ones during this incredibly challenging time.”