Capitol has its own day of tribute

By BETH CRACE State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Former Gov. Edward T. "Ned" Breathitt was remembered Friday as a unique friend, man of integrity and great statesman at a memorial service in the Capitol Rotunda.

Mourners visited the Rotunda throughout the day to pay their respects to Breathitt, who became the 17th Kentucky dignitary to lie in state at the Capitol.

Breathitt, 78, died late Tuesday at the University of Kentucky Medical Center after three days in a coma. The former governor, who is remembered largely for his contribution to civil rights, had been giving a speech at UK last Friday night when he collapsed. Doctors said his heartbeat had gone out of rhythm, according to The Associated Press.

Breathitt called Frankfort home for many years, having served as personnel commissioner and on the Public Service Commission. He was governor from 1963 to 1967 and is often remembered as the first Southern governor to enact civil rights legislation which prohibited discrimination in employment and public accommodations.

He also was instrumental in the development of the Capital Plaza and as personnel commissioner implemented the state merit system for government workers. He later served on Kentucky State University's Board of Regents.

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