LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Family, friends and loved ones gathered at the Kentucky Castle to pay their respects to former First Lady of Kentucky and Miss America Phyllis George Saturday.
George died on March 14 at UK Hospital after a long battle with a rare blood disorder. She was 70 years old.
The public visitation was held between 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. and saw more than 250 people in attendance. Visitors were required to comply with strict guidelines, including wearing masks, having their temperatures taken at the door, and maintaining six feet distance from others lined up to pay their respects. The number of people inside at one time was also limited.
“I think that just in this coronavirus situation we’re in, we didn’t want that to stop everybody from being able to pay their respects. That the love that she gave everybody was bigger than this,” said Brittany George Couch, Phyllis George’s niece.
George Couch said her aunt was a beautiful person who made deep connections with everyone who crossed her path.
“She never met a stranger. That’s one thing I think anyone can say is that she really did make you feel special even if you were just a stranger,” said George Couch.
The former First Lady of Kentucky was a pioneer in her field, paving the way for future female sportscasters by becoming one of the first women to cover the NFL on "The NFL Today."
“I was always very proud of her accomplishments, but I was more proud of the fact that she was really committed to us,” said George Couch of her aunt’s dedication to her family. “I think one of her goals in life was to keep us all together.”
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking people to donate to the Phyllis George Memorial Fund to help fund research for rare blood disorders and help children in need. Donations should be sent in care of Bluegrass Community Foundation, 499 E High St., Suite 112, Lexington, KY 40507 or online.
A private service will be held on Monday at 3:00 p.m. The service will be available for viewing on KET.org.