Local Obituaries

The Rev. Walter Strong, founder of churches in Eastern Kentucky, dies at age 86

The Rev. Walter Strong, who founded and led several churches in Eastern Kentucky, hosted a religious radio program for six decades, and served in the Kentucky Senate, died Monday.

He was 86.

The Rev. Strong died at the Owsley County Health Care Center, according to the Breathitt Funeral Home in Jackson, which is in charge of arrangements.

The Rev. Strong, who lived in several Eastern Kentucky communities during his long career, served one term in the Senate, from 1973 to 1977. He was a World War II veteran.

Before entering politics, he founded churches in Beattyville, Booneville, London, Clay County and other locations, pastoring each until it was ready to stand on its own.

The Rev. Strong reached a wider audience through his Voice of the Mountains radio program, which continued for 60 years, and a half-hour religious program carried on WLEX-TV for several years.

"To me, he was the apostle Paul of the mountains because he started so many churches," said longtime friend Henry Fraley of Georgetown.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the funeral home. Services will be held at the funeral home at 1 p.m. Saturday, followed by burial at the Haddix Cemetery in Breathitt County.