Former state Sen. William L. Sullivan of Henderson dies at 91

jbrammer@herald-leader.comSeptember 12, 2013 

Former state Sen. William L. Sullivan of Henderson, who helped establish the Chandler Medical Center at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, died Wednesday at St. Anthony's Hospice Lucy Smith King Care Center in Henderson. He was 91.

Sullivan, a graduate of Centre College and UK's College of Law, first served in the Kentucky Senate in 1954 and became majority floor leader in 1956.

After a single four-year term in the Senate, he returned to private life but came back to the Senate in 1966 to serve four more terms. He eventually was elected the Senate's president pro tem, then the highest office in the chamber.

When Gov. Wendell Ford resigned in 1974 to become U.S. senator and Julian Carroll ascended from lieutenant governor to governor, Sullivan presided over the Senate until the election of a new lieutenant governor in 1975. He served as acting governor on more than 60 occasions.

During his time as Senate leader, Sullivan was instrumental in the establishment of the medical center at UK. He also helped restructure the Kentucky Court of Justice and provided free textbooks to indigent students.

During World War II, Sullivan was an Army fighter pilot. He also won the World Speed Racing Championship in France.

Services will be at 11 a.m. CT Saturday at The Presbyterian Church of Henderson. Burial will be in Fernwood Cemetery with full military rites.

Visitation is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at Rudy-Rowland Funeral Home in Henderson and after 10 a.m. Saturday at the church.

Expressions of sympathy may take the form of contributions to The Presbyterian Church of Henderson or St. Anthony's Hospice.

Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog:

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