LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Louisville legend who's donated and raised an estimated $500 million for area charities was remembered as a generous man with a sense of humor was laid to rest Wednesday.
Owsley Brown Frazier's funeral was a solemn celebration marked with personal stories about the man who contributed more than just monetary contributions. The 77-year-old great grandson of the distiller who co-founded Brown-Forman passed away August 16 after fighting a long illness.
"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," lifelong friend Bill Stone said. "Owsley had a heart as big as the Grand Canyon."
Frazier's grandson set the tone for a wise man who could still crack a good joke and would never miss a Cardinals game. "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," Cordt Huneke said.
Dignitaries sat next to friends, family and Brown-Forman executives at St. Francis in the fields Episcopal Church as they honored the philanthropist and bourbon distillery heir.
"Owsley played a special role at Brown-Forman - never seeking the limelight but always at the center of the decision process," Mac Brown said, Frazier's cousin and Brown-Forman Executive Vice President.
Most recently, Frazier donated $25 million to the University of Louisville in 2011, the largest single contribution in the university's history, and believed to be the single largest gift to any university or college in Kentucky, according to a Brown-Forman news release.
"We'll think of Owsley when a family member or friend is at the Frazier Rehab Institute for the very best in rehabilitative care," U of L President Dr. James Ramsey said.
Frazier had a passion to give back and share his fortune which is also evident in the Frazier History Museum located along Main Street. He founded the museum and opened it May 22, 2004 - orginially named the Frazier Historical Arms Museum.
Owsley Brown Frazier was born May 7, 1935.