Karl Rusty Cheuvront, 83, of Winchester, who held several positions in state government, including director of the Kentucky Horse Park, died Sunday at Clark Regional Medical Center.
He served as deputy secretary for the Transportation Cabinet under Gov. Martha Layne Collins and was deputy parks commissioner under governors Wendell Ford and Julian Carroll.
Mr. Cheuvront led the Kentucky Horse Park from 1980 to 1985.
"He played a key role in the early development of the park," said John Nicholson, the park's current executive director. "He made a critical contribution to the park's survival."
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In those early days, then-Gov. John Y. Brown suggested at one point that it was a "white elephant" that should be sold if it couldn't make money.
But under Mr. Cheuvront's leadership, plans were made for the first indoor arena and first barns, paving the way for the facility to become what it is today, Nicholson said.
"He was a gentleman in the best sense of the word," Nicholson said. "He was truly loved by the Horse Park employees."
Mr. Cheuvront's son, Karl R. "Rusty" Cheuvront Jr., remembered his father as "a great public servant."
"He loved his state and he loved his family," he said.
Rusty Cheuvront Jr. said it was his father's example that led him to take positions in state government, including serving as an assistant to Collins and as spokesman for former Gov. Paul Patton. He is now employed by Brown-Forman.
He said his father became a leader in developing Clark County's public park system as a young man just out of school.
Mr. Cheuvront served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and worked as a head of operations for the vending machine company Automatic Retailers of America, today known as Aramark.
Mr. Cheuvront is survived by his wife of 63 years, Phyllis Rich Cheuvront; and three children, Alyson Cheuvront Codell, Karl R. Cheuvront Jr. and Patrick R. Cheuvront, as well as their spouses and children.
Visitation will begin at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Winchester, with services at noon.