San Antonio physician’s daughter filling gap left by her father’s passing

Dr. Margaret Kelley says she’s fortunate she had Dr. Harmon Kelley at her side

SAN ANTONIO – Last month’s sudden passing of Dr. Harmon Kelley, a beloved obstetrician and gynecologist, would have been harder for his patients to accept had it not been for his daughter, Dr. Margaret Kelley, also an OB-GYN.

“He was very purposeful in training me, preparing me for a time that he would not be here,” Margaret Kelley said.

She said it was pure luck that her residency was in San Antonio, which led her to practice in her father’s longtime clinic on the Southeast Side.

“It really was fortunate that I had 20 years to work with him,” Margaret Kelley said.

She said their father-daughter partnership was mutually beneficial.

“It was a good balance of new and old,” she said. “I think that was our greatest strength.”

Margaret Kelley said his patients praising his bedside manner and compassion come from the words of wisdom he shared with her.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” which are words to live by, she said.

Margaret Kelley said her father believed in treating his patients equally, regardless of their race, class or insurance status.

Doing so, she said, can affect patient outcomes.

“You do what needs to be done,” Margaret Kelley said. “You don’t take those things into account.”

She said her parents stressed educational preparation to help ensure how their daughter was treated.

“There might be biases against me because I’m Black but not because I’m not well trained,” Margaret Kelley said.

She said her father spent a lot of time on the board of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, “making sure to advocate for minority admissions into medical school because he understood that pipeline.”

Margaret Kelley also said her father showed her it wasn’t true that patients who are not Black won’t see an African-American physician.

She said, “I think he proved that if you’re kind, if you’re the best, patients will come.”

About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.