Dale Farabee, a psychiatrist who established Kentucky's Comprehensive Care Centers to help the mentally ill, died Wednesday in Lexington after a brief illness. He was 84.
Gov. Edward T. "Ned" Breathitt named Dr. Farabee in 1965 as state mental health commissioner for $25,000 a year. That made Dr. Farabee the second-highest-paid state employee after University of Kentucky President John Oswald, who made $30,000. The governor said Dr. Farabee would be worth every penny.
"It's false economy to get a second-rater," Breathitt said.
Dr. Farabee stayed for nine years under three governors, Democratic and Republican, finally resigning as the state commissioner of health services. He pushed to localize delivery of care so the mentally ill would not have to go into institutions far from their homes. Under his leadership, Kentucky won federal funds to open the statewide network of care centers that remains in place today.
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"I was just the front man for a lot of people who made this work," he said when he quit in 1974.
Born in New Albany, Ind., Dr. Farabee earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Indiana University and a medical degree from the University of Louisville. He is survived by his wife, Laura Farabee.