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Mary Bingham, Matriarch of Louisville Publishing Family, Dies

April 19, 1995

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ Mary Bingham, matriarch of a family that built up a Louisville publishing empire and was then torn apart by it, died Tuesday. She was 90.

Mrs. Bingham collapsed before she was to speak to a Rotary International banquet in her honor.

``Kentucky has lost one of its most caring and productive citizens,″ said Gov. Brereton Jones, who was at the banquet.``There is no way to fully measure what Mary Bingham has meant to every citizen of this commonwealth.″

Eight years ago, her family was split by a bitter and public conflict that resulted in the sale of the Bingham media empire, the cornerstone of which was The Courier-Journal, the Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper known for its liberal positions.

The battle, between her son, publisher Barry Bingham Jr. and his sisters, Sallie and Eleanor, both major stockholders, resulted in the elder Binghams selling the company to the Gannett chain.

Married for 57 years to Barry Bingham Sr., the couple was always ``the Binghams,″ the most famous couple in Louisville.

When he died in 1988, Mrs. Bingham took over his role in the Mary and Barry Bingham Sr. Fund, which has distributed $59 million to arts programs.

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