WKU Public Radio News Staff
Thu May 8, 2014
Former Kentucky First Lady Martha Wilkinson Dies
Former Kentucky first lady Martha Wilkinson, who championed efforts to reduce adult illiteracy and ran a brief campaign to succeed her husband as governor, has died. She was 72.
Her husband, Wallace Wilkinson, was governor from 1987 to 1991.
Doug Alexander, his spokesman during his administration, says Martha Wilkinson died Wednesday at a hospital in Florida.
During his term, voters approved a state lottery and lawmakers overhauled public schools.
Wallace Wilkinson failed to get a measure on the ballot allowing himself and other constitutional officers at the time to run for a second term. Martha Wilkinson ran a brief campaign for governor herself, promising to continue her husband's policies.
The Wilkinsons married in 1960. Her husband became a millionaire businessman, only to see his business empire collapse in bankruptcy.
Wallace Wilkinson died in 2002.