Former TN first lady Leslee ‘Honey’ Alexander dies at 77

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Former first lady of Tennessee Leslee Kathryn Buhler Alexander, known as Honey, has died at the age of 77, according to a family statement.

In a statement, the Alexander family said the former first lady died Oct. 29 surrounded by her family at their home in Maryville.

Honey was the wife of former Tennessee Governor and U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander. She was born on October 12, 1945 in Los Angeles, California, and was the second oldest of five children.

The former senator and first lady moved to Nashville in August 1970 with their 11-month-old son. Honey served as First Lady of Tennessee from 1979 to 1987.

During her role as First Lady, she led the statewide Healthy Children Initiative with the goal of providing prenatal health care to every child. The former first lady also served as a member of the 1985-86 Southern Regional Task Force on Infant Mortality, the Governor’s Task Forces on Child Care and Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse, and the Council of the US Secretary of Health on health promotion and disease prevention.

In 1976, Cherie co-founded Leadership Nashvillean organization that seeks to broaden and diversify the leaders who make decisions about growth in Nashville.

The former first lady campaigned in former senator Lamar Alexander’s six races for governor and U.S. senator, served eight years as first lady, moved to Knoxville when Lamar was president of the University of Tennessee, then Washington, DC, when he was United States Secretary of Education and Senator.

Honey Alexander is survived by her husband of 53 years, Lamar Alexander; three children, nine grandchildren, brothers and sisters.

The Alexander family declares that there will be a private burial service for family members at the Hesse Creek Chapel Family Cemetery in Walland, Tennessee. A memorial service will be held later at Christ Church Cathedral in Nashville. Dates for both services were not immediately provided.

In lieu of flowers, the Alexander family said memorials could be made at the Honey Alexander Center, located at 2400 Clifton Avenue in Nashville.