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Catherine Jean Nalley Arrangements



Catherine Jean Nalley, 84, of Louisville, passed away Friday, June 18, 2010 at Norton Hospital.

Jean was born in Louisville on October 22, 1925, to the late Louis Fosse Millet and Hazel Kirk Millet. Jean retained a home in Louisville and was a resident of Marco Island, FL at the time of her death.

She is preceded in death by her husband of 44 years, Joseph Richard Nalley and her daughter, Mary Kim Nalley.

She is survived by her daughter, Patricia L. Nalley; sons, J. Richard Nalley Jr. and Christopher M. Nalley; sister, Mary Elizabeth Reid; grandchildren, Joseph, Laura, Sandy and Thomas, and her great-granddaughter, Jocelyn.

Jean was an alumnus of Louisville Girls High School and Catherine Spalding College (Spalding University).

After college, she worked as a medical technologist and was a teacher in the elementary school Great Books program. In 1957, Jean and her husband, Joseph Richard Nalley, purchased and assumed operation of Louisville-based Krauth Electric Company, Inc. (founded in 1911), an industrial electric equipment distributor and service provider. After her husband’s passing in 1988, Jean assumed the role of CEO. She continued until her death to be involved actively in the business, which now includes IRD LLC, a Louisville-based manufacturer of industrial electrical and mechanical test equipment, instruments and software, with operations in the US, Canada, Mexico and the UK.

Jean was a gifted artist and her homes are graced by her numerous oil paintings of family, horses and still life studies. She was an avid enthusiast of the performing arts and a regular season ticket holder of the Louisville Orchestra, Kentucky Opera and Louisville Ballet.

Jean perhaps is best known as a leading owner, breeder and exhibitor of American Saddlebred showhorses. During her ownership, Jean’s horses won over 40 National titles and World’s and Reserve World’s Championships. World’s Championships are the most prized titles in the Saddlebred industry and are awarded each year at The World’s Championship Horse Show held during the Kentucky State Fair. A "reserve" is 2nd place. Horses sold by Jean went on to win dozens of additional National titles and World’s Championships. In 2005, Jean’s horse, CH 5 O’Clock, won the most coveted title in the Saddlebred world, the Five Gaited World’s Grand Championship, often compared in the industry to the prestige of winning the Kentucky Derby. Jean’s horse trainers over the years included some of Kentucky ’s most revered horsemen, such as Don Harris, Redd Crabtree, Bill Wise, John and Renee Biggins and Nelson Green, and Indiana’s Raymond and Lillian Shively and Todd Miles. In 1980, renowned author and horsewoman, Helen Crabtree, rode Jean’s stallion Lightspeed, as a representative of the breed, in Ronald Reagan’s inaugural parade in Washington, DC.

Growing up near Louisville ’s Southern Parkway, with its famous horse barns and bridle path, Jean rode horses her whole life, including daily childhood rides through Louisville ’s Iroquois Park . Though she had owned many champion show horses exhibited by her son, Christopher, and her trainers, Jean did not ride personally in the show ring until 2000, at the age of 74. She won first place in her first competition at the May Classic Horse Show held at the Shelbyville, KY Fairgrounds, and culminated the year with a Reserve World’s Championship.

Jean was a member of The United States Equestrian Federation, The American Saddlebred Horse Association, The Churchill Downs Turf Club, The Speed Art Museum Charter Collectors Group, The Pendennis Club, The Queens Daughters and Holy Spirit Church.

Jean’s funeral mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Holy Spirit Church, 3345 Lexington Road and she will be laid to rest at Calvary Cemetery next her late husband.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday and 2 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Ratterman’s, 3711 Lexington Road.

Memorial gifts in the form of contributions may be made to: The American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org, (800) ACS-2345, PO Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123; The American Saddlebred Museum, www.asbmuseum.org, (859) 259-2746, 4083 Iron Works Pkwy., Lexington, KY 40511; Saddlebred Rescue, Inc., www.saddlebredrescue.com, (908) 304-3560, 4 Westview Dr., Blairstown, NJ 07825.

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