Former Governor John Y. Brown Jr. laid to rest

Posted at 5:00 PM, Nov 30, 2022

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky's 55th governor, John Y. Brown Jr., was laid to rest on Wednesday after a private service at the Capitol.

"If you want to know the measure of a man, watch how he dies," his son, John Y. Brown III, said during the service. "And our father died a beautiful death with all five children by his side, loving on him, caring for him."

The service partially focused on Brown's business and political successes.

"During his tenure as governor, he focused on expanding economic development and improving our infrastructure," said Gov. Andy Beshear.

"He truly cared about Kentuckians," Beshear added. "He truly cared about us."

However, Brown's children wanted to focus on the man behind those achievements. So, they highlighted their father's positivity and charm.

"He was larger than life, but he was also just a regular guy," said Pamela Brown Wright, his daughter. "Anyone could hang out with him."

"Dad had a maniacally positive mindset, even - especially - when it didn't make sense to anyone. No matter how bad a situation was, give dad a few days and he would focus on the positives," said son Lincoln Brown. "Every new business deal had the chance to be the new KFC. Every failure, in his words, was a stepping stone to success."

The Brown siblings also spoke about their father's love of life. In a video, Brown was seen saying "life is good."

Brown was 88 years old when he died. He served as the 55th governor of the commonwealth from 1979-1983. According to the National Governors Association, while governor, Brown reduced the budget by 22% and brought record commerce to the state.

Prior to the governorship, he was known as a successful businessman who turned Kentucky Fried Chicken, Inc. into one of the largest fast-food operations in the world before selling in 1971.