FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Governor Andy Beshear shared some emotional news at Tuesday's COVID-19 briefing.
A personal friend of his, and Kentuckian, Lillian Press passed away at the age of 95 Sunday night at an assistant living facility in Washington from complications of COVID-19.
"She was healthy. She was sharp. She was really special," said an emotional Beshear.
"She had more years that she should have been able to give to us," Beshear added.
Lillian and her late husband Leonard moved to Kentucky and committed to improving education in the commonwealth.
Their ultimate dream grew into Kentucky Educational Television (KET), which unites Kentuckians through programming, dedicated arts, history, culture and public affairs.
Governor Beshear also said she made a huge impact on his life when he was younger, before they even met.
"She organized and directed the Governor's Scholars Program," said Beshear. "Years after that, more than a decade after she made it happen, was something that would change my life and how it changed the course on how I felt about myself and how I interacted with others."
"She did get to see the first person that graduated from the Governor's Scholars Program to become the Governor and I'm very proud of that and I know she is too, because I had an opportunity to talk to her," Beshear added.
Press didn't stop there with the Governor's Scholars Program. She organized 28 other state Governor's schools to make sure they could do the same thing Governor Beshear was able to achieve.
In retirement, she organized the women's network and served as a member of the Centre College Board for 17 years.
"Every person we lose is just as important," said Beshear. "But this was a friend of mine. I know we'll miss her."
Other Kentucky officials shared their condolences to Press as well.
Today we remember Lillian Press, who passed away this weekend at age 95. Her dedicated service to @KET and @kentuckygsp have made our Commonwealth a brighter, healthier, more innovative home. Thank you, Lillian. ^JC— Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman (@LtGovColeman) April 28, 2020
Lillian Press gave so much to the people of KY. Among other great things, she was known for her groundbreaking work establishing the Governor’s Scholars Program & developing the state’s first Regional Mental Health Board. But she was mostly known for her extraordinary compassion.— Jim Gray (@JimGrayLexKY) April 28, 2020