Ledford remembered for work to help children

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Best known as the wife of Cawood Ledford, “the Voice of the Wildcats’ for 39 years, Frances Ledford devoted much of her life to carrying on their work after his death in 2001.

“In my interactions with her, that is what she enjoyed speaking about the most…her beloved Cawood,” said Tommie Saragas, president of the Cawood Ledford Boys and Girls Club and one of the founders of the organization. “She dedicated her life to him. After his passing, she dedicated her life to sustaining his legacy.”

Frances Ledford was born Sept. 21, 1927, in Lynch. She graduated from Nazareth College in Bardstown in 1949 with a degree in home economics. After teaching in Lynch High School for three years, she relocated to Louisville to become business manager for WHAS Radio in 1952. It was there that she met her husband, and the two were married on December 26, 1974.

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The Ledfords returned to their native Harlan County when Cawood retired as the voice of UK basketball and football in the early 1990s.

Saragas said Ledford believed in the mission of the Boys and Girls Club, even before the current building in Sunshine was constructed.

“She loved Harlan County. She wanted to make a difference. She wanted his name and accomplishments to inspire others, especially youth,” Saragas said. “She was there among a sea of children on the bleachers of the old Loyall school and helped us cut that first ribbon as we announced the Cawood Ledford Boys and Girls Club of Harlan County. She was beaming.

“Years later, she was there when the new building opened and welcomed members. She lined the wall with some of her most precious artifacts of her husband’s career. She stood there and shared their story to each person who was blessed to hear it. She watched little faces light up when they saw the photos and awards and heard he was from their hometown. What a legacy they both have left. What an impact — forever changing the lives of children and our community.”