Kelly Brandt, 52, ‘Jeopardy,' and geography buff

Kelly Brandt’s relatives and friends felt humbled, to say the least, when they joined her to watch TV shows like “Jeopardy”.

In one typical episode, in which the category was geography, host Alex Trebek told contestants to choose a question to go with the answer — Mongolia.

“What country is between China and Russia?” Kelly Brandt said instantly while others were still scratching their heads.

And of course, said sister Erin Brandt of east Cobb, nobody was surprised, because Ms. Brandt, also of east Cobb, studied geography so much that she could instantly point out the location of a tiny country like Luxembourg on a globe.

“She nailed all the crazy geography, science, political and book questions,” Erin Brandt said, which some people thought a bit weird for a business school graduate of the University of Georgia and devoted Bulldogs fan.

Actually, devoted wouldn’t be the right word, says Ms. Brandt’s long-time best friend, Margaret Gilmer of Boonton, N.J. Rabid would be better.

For years the two would “watch the games together on TV” via long distance telephone, talking constantly and never hanging up until the contest was over.

“I’d be in Alaska and later New Jersey and we’d get on the phone during games, talking about every play,” Ms. Gilmer said. “It was like we were together. And it was like that for the Braves, too.”

Kelly Ann Brandt, 52, died Sept. 25 of lung cancer. SouthCare Cremation Society and Memorial Centers in Marietta handled arrangements. A private life celebration is planned for noon Nov. 6 for family and friends.

She was an executive for Marriott Corp. for many years, was devoted to her job, a “fantastic cook,” loved animals, was a master of the most difficult crossword puzzles, enjoyed jokes, art and wanted to see many of the countries she never made it to in her travels, sister Erin said.

Coincidentally, Ms. Brandt’s mother, Sharon Brandt, also of east Cobb, was diagnosed with lung cancer about five years ago, but early enough to be cured. Kelly Brandt, a lifelong smoker, quit then. Doctors said her cancer wasn’t associated with smoking, Erin Brandt said.

“She maintained a sense of humor up to the end,” said her father, Ken Brandt.

Erin Brandt said her sister kept an atlas next to her chair and if she heard about a country she didn’t recognize, she’d look it up. She said her sister was stoic about her diagnosis and didn’t feel sorry for herself.

“It was offered to her, but she didn’t want a religious ceremony,” Erin Brandt said. “She wanted there to be a party, sort of like an Irish wake. We’ll have a big flat screen TV because Georgia plays Idaho State. She would have liked that.”

Kate Hardy, 48, of Simi Valley, Calif., said her sister loved animals and, especially her two cats, Higgins and Liza.

“She was very loyal to her friends,” said Kate, a graduate of UGA’s archrival, Georgia Tech. “She even pulled for Georgia Tech when they weren’t playing UGA.”

Ms. Gilmer said the last time they saw each other, “she just looked up from the bed and said, ‘No fun.’ The last thing I said to her was ‘I’ll see you later.’ I didn’t want to say ‘goodbye’.”

She is also survived by a brother, Pat Brandtof Woodstock.