Former Kentucky Gov. John Y. Brown dies at 88
John Y. Brown, who took office as Kentucky’s eighth governor and led the state to the brink of a bankruptcy, died Sunday at 88 of congestive heart failure in a Louisville hospital.
The Republican, who was born and raised in Kentucky and grew up in Louisville, was first elected to the U.S. House in 1954. In 1959, he ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate.
He was a staunch conservative who once compared the civil rights movement to the Nazi race laws. He opposed school prayer, even when the state’s first black schoolteacher was praying with her students.
Brown’s political career began in his native Kentucky when he was a high school student. After a stint in the Army during the Korean War, he moved to Chicago where his parents lived and where a business career took him to Los Angeles, Detroit and New York. His career with the New York Times and then as deputy president of the United Steelworkers union ended when he decided to run for governor of Kentucky.
Brown, who was a popular governor and the second African-American governor of Kentucky after Adlai Stevenson, was elected governor in 1972 and served until 1987. He did not run for a second term in 1986. He returned to Louisville, where he still resides, a few months ago and died.
Brown, who was not married, was preceded in death by his first wife, Patricia Moore. His second wife, the former Virginia Louise Brown, was a writer who moved with him to Louisville from Louisville in 1971. Brown had three daughters, Patricia, Virginia and Jennifer.
The family said Brown’s funeral was scheduled for Wednesday.
“We have gone through a difficult eight years but his legacy will live on; he will forever be known as the builder of the state,” said state Republican Party Chairman John Schroer.
“He did something he loved. He built this state