Ky. philanthropist Owsley Brown Frazier dies at 77

Aug 16, 2012

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Louisville philanthropist and former Brown-Forman Corp. executive Owsley Brown Frazier has died. He was 77.

Frazier, an heir to the founder of liquor giant Brown-Forman, died Thursday after a long illness, company spokesman Phil Lynch said.

Fraizier served as an executive at Brown-Forman for 45 years and as a member of the board of directors for more than 40 years. He retired from management in 2000 but remained a member of the board until 2006, the company said in a statement.

Among Brown-Forman's brands are Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey, Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and Southern Comfort.

"Owsley Brown Frazier was a vital member of the Brown family's fourth generation whose leadership at the company helped transform Brown-Forman into the global enterprise it is today," said Brown-Forman Chief Executive Officer Paul Varga. "All of us at Brown-Forman join Owsley's family and friends in mourning his death."

Frazier raised more than $500 million for Louisville schools and universities, including the private Bellarmine University and his alma mater, the University of Louisville, where last year he gave the school its largest single donation, $25 million.

He also was chairman of a $75 million campaign on behalf of the Frazier Rehabilitation Institute to construct a new state-of-the-art facility.

"His generosity touched many people over several generations," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said in a statement.

In 2004, Frazier founded the successful Frazier International History Museum in downtown Louisville. It houses many weapons from his vast private collection.

Frazier was also owner and chairman of Bittners, LLC, an interior and commercial design firm.

Frazier is survived by two daughters and eight grandchildren.

His funeral will be held Wednesday in Louisville.