Honoring Owsley Brown Frazier

| August 23, 2012

The world was a better place because Owsley Brown Frazier was in it. His generosity will ensure it stays that way. The internationally-known philanthropist died Aug. 16 at the age of 77, but the depth of his kindness will remain. The Voice-Tribune asked a number of individuals who knew him to share their thoughts about Mr. Frazier. Here, they do just that, in their own words.
Read Owsley Brown Frazier’s full obituary at http://www.voice-tribune.com/?p=65321

 ”I can’t think of a person who has ever lived in Louisville who has had as much of a direct and indirect effect on the lives of the people of this community more than Owsley Brown Frazier. From the thousands of jobs that he helped to create and sustain at Brown-Forman and his other enterprises over the years to the impact on the community through his unparalleled philanthropic gifts, Mr. Frazier made the lives of our citizens and myriad aspects of our city a much better place in which to live. Louisville is very lucky to have had him, all of our lives are better because of Mr. Frazier and he will be dearly missed.”

Jonathan Blue
Chairman and Managing Director of Blue Equity, LLC

Yes this community will miss Owsley: they will miss his philanthropy, they will miss his love of his hometown, but most importantly they will miss losing a dear friend. They will miss a man  who never thought it was all about him, who despite his wealth, despite his prominence,  always treated everyone with great respect regardless of their position in life. Owsley best personifies those fine qualities found in the common man. In his poem, ‘If,’ Rudyard Kipling said it best: ‘If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,/ or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch…’ That was Owsley Brown Frazier.
Dan Schusterman
Former Senior Executive Vice President of Brown-Forman and Close Friend of Owsley Brown Frazier

If the good Lord needed to endow somebody on this earth with exceptional resources so that person would do good, he picked the perfect representative in Owsley.”
Bill Stone
Close Friend of Owlsey Brown Frazier for Four Decades

As a true believer in a higher power that looks after us, having Mr. Frazier in my life was proof of that. He was so much more than a boss. He was a father figure, mentor and true friend. I am forever grateful for having him in my life. He told me once that we both liked to set the bar high. He furthered that with ‘I expect you to keep it there!’  So no one, including myself, would ever want to disappoint Mr. Frazier. I will always cherish my business meetings with him, our exciting conversations and even the times we simply watched one of his favorite movies. His biggest asset was his heart. I am so honored that he shared it with me. I will forever draw on the lessons he taught me and feel so blessed to have him in my life.”
Douglas Riddle
President of Bittners

Owsley was always a friend, mentor and traveling companion. His many interests never varied, and it was a challenge and such a joy to keep up with him. He once told me to always go for the gold, and I went for the gold friendship – and I found Owsley Frazier.
Ben Small
Interior Designer for Bittners

Owsley Brown Frazier will be missed, but his legacy will endure. He has left the community a far better place because of his leadership and generosity. He has our heartfelt thanks, and Kelley and I will keep his family in our prayers.”
Sen. Rand Paul

It’s a community loss. Mr. Frazier was one of the kindest, generous and patient men that I’ve ever met. He was just so patient with all of us. I consider it a privilege and an honor to have worked with him. My horizons have been broadened by that.”
Glenda Roby
Personal assistant to Owsley Brown Frazier 

Mr. Frazier was truly genuine … a man without pretenses. He was special in so many ways and will be missed by all who knew him. Many have commented he was a man of few words, but he could say more in one sentence coupled with one of his signature facial expressions than most of us could in five.
His style of presentation, word choices and combination of words were one of a kind and can never be duplicated.
A lot has been written about his extraordinary giving to the Frazier Museum and the University of Louisville, but he would also give to as many as 100 different charitable organizations each and every year.
There are few charities in Louisville that have not received a donation from Owsley Brown Frazier and his daughters. I often told him he was worked too hard to be retired.  Even when it was obvious he was in physical pain, if a board meeting, charitable event or advisor meeting was on the calendar he did whatever he could to attend when so many of us would have cancelled.”
S. Butch Shaw
Certified Public Accountant for Monroe Shine

Louisvillians know Owsley Brown Frazier’s love for education and the major universities in this city, particularly the University of Louisville. However, there are other aspects of his life which will also live on: He had a great love of history, which caused him to create and gift the Frazier Museum to the citizens of Louisville. It was also his love of history which caused him to invest in Bittners, an iconic symbol of excellence and beauty in Louisville. Mr. Frazier loved Louisville. He made Louisville a better place for the citizens of this city.”
Vickie Yates Brown
Vice Chair of the Frazier Museum and CEO of Nucleus

First of all I can’t help but to think of Owsley as a friend. We had a lot of good, fun times together. Owsley was also a respected business colleague of mine at Brown-Forman. He did some wonderful things that I thought helped our employees considerably. It was a fun place to work not only because of the people but also the surroundings because he was so good about maintaining the property.The community owes Owsley a great deal of thanks, both for his time and his charity that he spread around, and so many people have benefited as a result of it.”
Bill Street
Former President of Brown-Forman Corporation

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