Former Governor Julian Carroll Passes Away at 92

Former Governor Julian Carroll, a Democrat who served from 1974 to 1979, passed away on Sunday at the age of 92. Carroll spent his final months in hospice care at his farm near Frankfort, Kentucky.

“Former Gov. Julian Carroll dedicated his career to public service,” Gov. Andy Beshear posted on Sunday. “For decades, he worked to support public education and those he represented in Frankfort. Please join Britainy and me in praying for his family during this difficult time.”

“On behalf of the Kentucky House of Representatives, I extend our deepest sympathies to the Carroll family. While Kentucky lost a former Governor, they grieve the loss of a father, grandfather, and great-grandfather,” Kentucky House Speaker David Osborne said in a statement. “Governor Carroll’s political life spanned more than six decades and included service in the Kentucky House and Senate, as well as terms as Lieutenant Governor and Governor. May his family find comfort in that service, as well as in knowing he is once again reunited with his wife, Charlann, and son Brad.”

“Governor Julian Carroll was the longest serving governor in modern times and, arguably, the last of the influential pre-succession governors under the old Kentucky Constitution,” Senate President Robert Stivers said in a statement. “Few will have a career as distinguished as his, one that took him through the House of Representatives, the Executive Branch, and the Kentucky State Senate. Carroll influenced the Commonwealth’s governance for almost six decades.” 

The McCracken County native spent five years in the House of Representatives, where he served as House Speaker. He was later elected lieutenant governor in 1971 and served the final year of Gov. Wendell Ford’s term as governor after Ford won election to the U.S. Senate. Carroll was elected to his own full term in 1975.

Two years after leaving office, Carroll’s administration was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the former Kentucky Democratic Party chairman Sonny Hunt was indicted for his alleged participation in a state worker’s compensation insurance fraud. He served two years.

Carroll was never convicted of wrongdoing.

The Frankfort lawyer would later run for governor in 1987 in the Democratic primary – finishing fifth. He returned to Frankfort in 2005 after winning election to the state Senate, a post he would hold until 2020.

A 2017 Spectrum News report uncovered he propositioned a man for sex in 2005. Carroll was removed from his position in Senate leadership, but he refused to resign his seat.

The former Governor will lie in state in the rotunda of the Kentucky State Capitol on Friday, Dec. 15, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. EST, with a memorial service from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, at Elevate Church in Frankfort, with burial to follow at Frankfort Cemetery. Gov. Beshear has directed that flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff in Carroll’s honor from sunrise on Wednesday, Dec. 13, until sunset on Saturday, Dec. 16.