John Y. Brown, Sr.

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John Young Brown, Sr.

Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Husband of Dorothy Jean Inman
Father of John Y. Brown, Jr., Governor and Pamela Brown

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About John Y. Brown, Sr.,_Sr.

John Young Brown, Sr. (February 1, 1900 – June 16, 1985) was a state representative for nearly three decades, serving one term as speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives and as majority floor leader during the term of Gov. Edward T. Breathitt. A Democrat, he was elected to one term in the U.S. House of Representatives (1933–35) to an at-large seat elected state-wide on a general ticket. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for Kentucky Governor in 1939 and the unsuccessful candidate for the United States Senate in 1946 and 1966.


Brown was born on a farm near Geigers Lake, Union County, Kentucky, attended Union County schools and graduated from the high school at Sturgis, Kentucky. He graduated from Centre College at Danville, Kentucky with an A.B. degree in 1921 where he was a member of Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity and a "Scrub" player on the famous Centre Praying Colonels football team. He received his LL.B. degree from University of Kentucky College of Law in 1926 and was admitted to the bar that same year.

He was a well-known trial lawyer who practiced law from 1926 to 1985 in Lexington, Kentucky with three firms: Brown and Miller, Brown and Son, and Brown, Sledd and McCann. He was noted for his extensive quotation of the Bible from memory during his summations to juries.

Brown sponsored much legislation in the Kentucky House of Representatives including the state's first sales tax and civil rights legislation. He was recognized on many occasions as the most effective legislator in the House.

Brown died of pneumonia in Louisville, six months after being paralyzed from the waist down in an automobile accident. He and his wife, Dorothy Inman Brown, had five children. One son, John Y. Brown, Jr., made a large fortune as the owner of Kentucky Fried Chicken and was Kentucky governor from 1979 to 1983. A daughter, Pamela Brown, died in 1970 in an ill-fated attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a balloon dubbed "The Free Life." He is also the grandfather of former Kentucky Secretary of State John Y. Brown, III, and news anchor Pamela Ashley Brown.

Brown is a member of the University of Kentucky College of Law's Hall of Fame and the Phi Kappa Tau Hall.

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John Y. Brown, Sr.'s Timeline

December 28, 1933
Age 33
Age 42
Age 85