Wife of former U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander dies at age 77

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Leslee Kathryn Buhler Alexander, the spouse of former Tennessee governor and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and a longtime household and youngsters’s well being advocate, has died at age 77, her household mentioned Sunday.

Often called “Honey,” Alexander was surrounded by her household when she died Saturday at her residence exterior of the Tennessee metropolis of Maryville, her household mentioned in an announcement.

She was married for 53 years to Lamar Alexander, a Republican who served as Tennessee’s governor from 1979 to 1987, and campaigned for him all through his political profession. He additionally served as U.S. training secretary beneath President George H.W. Bush, ran for president and spent three phrases within the U.S. Senate earlier than retiring in 2020.

Whereas her husband was governor, Alexander led the statewide Wholesome Youngsters Initiative, which sought to supply prenatal well being care for kids. She was a member of the 1985-1986 Southern Regional Activity Pressure on Toddler Mortality, the governor’s job forces on day care and youth alcohol and drug abuse, and the U.S. Well being Secretary’s Council on Well being Promotion and Illness Prevention, her household’s assertion mentioned.

She additionally co-founded Management Nashville in 1976 and served on many boards, together with the Junior League of Nashville and the Hermitage. She additionally had been vice-chairman of the Company for Public Broadcasting and a board member of Household Service America and the Nationwide Archives Basis, the assertion mentioned.

The Honey Alexander Heart, situated on the Nashville nonprofit Household and Youngsters’s Service, opened in 2019.

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“Our pricey ‘Honey’ was humorous, loving, all the time caring, unselfish and brave,” her household mentioned within the assertion. “We’re so lucky to have spent our lives together with her. We’ll miss her day-after-day.”

Honey Alexander was born Oct. 12, 1945, in Los Angeles. She was working for U.S. Sen. John Tower of Texas when she met her future husband, who was a staffer for U.S. Sen. Howard Baker Jr. of Tennessee, throughout a softball recreation between the 2 staffs in 1967, her household mentioned. They married in 1969.

Honey Alexander preferred to jog, plant flowers and skim historic novels, her household mentioned. She additionally liked to spend time together with her youngsters and grandchildren, her household mentioned.

She shall be remembered at a personal graveside service for relations and at a memorial service to be held later at Christ Church Cathedral in Nashville, the household mentioned.