August 23, 2012

Owsley Brown Frazier dies at age 77

Owsley Brown Frazier

Owsley Brown Frazier


By Michelle Eigenheer —

Owsley Brown Frazier, a Louisville legend whose generosity was often targeted toward the University of Louisville, was laid to rest on Wednesday, Aug. 22. Frazier died on August 16 after a long fight with illness. He was 77 years old.

Frazier was born May 19, 1935 as the grandson of the co-founder of Brown-Forman, distiller of Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort, Woodford Reserve and other brands. According a release by Brown-Forman, Frazier served as an executive with the company for 45 years and a member of the board of directors for 40 years.

Beyond his career, Owsley Brown Frazier was known for his extensive philanthropy. Over his lifetime, Frazier donated over $500 million to charity. Last year alone, he gave a donation of $25 million to the University of Louisville.

“He was so generous, some joked at one time Owsley wrote such a big check in a cause in which he believed, the bank would bounce,” friend Bill Stone said. “Owsley had a heart as big as the Grand Canyon.”

In addition to the University of Louisville, Frazier donated to Bellarmine University, Kosair Children’s Hospital, Metro United Way and the Frazier Rehab Institute, founded by his mother. Frazier also founded the Frazier History Museum located in downtown Louisville.

Frazier was an avid Cardinal fan. At his funeral, his grandson, Cordt Huneke said, “He taught us the importance of giving back to the community, but he was also the kind of man who would’ve missed his own funeral if the Cards were playing.”


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