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Arch Gleason, 69, Kentucky Lottery President and CEO, dies after injury in a fall

Long-time Kentucky Lottery President and CEO Arch Gleason has died. He passed away Friday due to injuries sustained in a fall.

Gleason spent nearly 23 years leading the Kentucky Lottery, taking the helm of the organization in just its fourth year of existence. He served under five governors, and was currently the longest serving lottery director in the United States.

Arch Gleason

Arch Gleason

Gleason had just announced his retirement from the organization less than a month ago. At that time, he said, “The Kentucky Lottery has generated billions of dollars for Kentucky education, with a record $236.1 million contribution in 2015. Over the years we’ve built one of the most successful lotteries in the country, a powerful economic engine for our state which will run for years to come. I’m so proud of our efforts.”

Prior to joining the KY Lottery Corporation in September 1993, Gleason served two separate terms as director of the West Virginia Lottery. He is also a former secretary of the West Virginia Department of Transportation.

“Arch leaves behind an amazing legacy,” said Kentucky Lottery Board Chair June Hudson. “He took such great pride in the Kentucky kids that went to college using more than $2.5 billion in scholarships and grants during his tenure. He would often relate stories of young people he met and how gratifying it was to hear how education had helped shape their future.”

“He always refused to get an unlisted home telephone number, in case a player wanted to call him with a question or concern,” Hudson recounted. “I don’t think you’d find many CEO’s of a nearly $1 billion a year company who would do that. But that was Arch.”

Gleason is survived by his wife of nearly 48 years, Annie, four children and seven grandchildren. His funeral will be Saturday at Epiphany Catholic Church, with visitation Friday at Highlands Funeral Home.

Here is his obituary:

Arthur L. “Arch” Gleason Jr., a husband, father, grandfather, friend and globally-recognized business professional – with a heart as big as the sky – passed away Friday. He was 69 years old.

For nearly 23 years, Arch served as president and CEO of the Kentucky Lottery Corporation. He oversaw the growth of the lottery to an operation with nearly $1 billion annually in sales.

Arch handed numerous four-foot-long checks to Powerball winners, never missed recognizing an employee’s birthday, and most importantly oversaw the Kentucky Lottery’s transition to the funding source of college scholarship and grant programs. His fingerprints have been on every KEES scholarship ever awarded in the Commonwealth, and he took great pride in the more than $2.5 billion in scholarships and grants given during his tenure.

A Cuyahoga Falls native and a graduate of John Carroll University, Arch’s love of Cleveland sports was only dwarfed by his pride in the teams and activities of his seven grandchildren. Professionally, he spent two decades as a CPA before entering government service.

Prior to coming to Kentucky, he served two separate terms as director of the West Virginia Lottery, and as secretary of the West Virginia Department of Transportation, special assistant to the governor of West Virginia and chairman of the Public Port Authority.

Arch rose to become recognized as one the most respected and accomplished lottery leaders in the U.S. and the world. While in Kentucky, he served five years as president of the World Lottery Association, travelling the globe as he led the world-wide trade organization representing the lotteries of 80 different countries.

Arch also served as president of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (or NASPL, the trade organization for North American lotteries) and as president of the Multi State Lottery Corporation (the oversight agency for the Powerball game). He was a member of the Public Gaming Research Institute’s Lottery Hall of Fame, and received their Lifetime Achievement Award. Arch was set to receive their Lottery Industry Statesman Award in September.

Arch truly had a servant’s heart, and it steered much of his work. He led Kentucky to be one of the first U.S. lotteries to establish a responsible gambling program, a model now used across the country. He also took this work to the global community, working to establish the first-ever responsible gambling standards for lottery use on a world-wide basis.

His charitable efforts over the decades were endless, but he particularly enjoyed his work on the boards of directors for Bridgehaven Mental Health Services (where he served as board president), the Fund for the Arts and the American Heart Association. Arch was also a member of the Metro United Way’s Tocqueville Society.

Arch is survived by the love of his life Annie Gleason, his bride of nearly 48 years. He was the proud father of four, Archie (Rachel), Colleen, Katie and Ryan (Kenzie), as well as seven grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his sister Kath Schilling, his in-laws Jim & Mary Carroll, Dick & Mary Anne Kenney, Mike & Jean Harvey, Jack & Sue Kenney, Jim & Kate Henry, Bridget O’Sullivan, Pat & Carol Kenney, and Tim & Julie Kenney. Arch was proceeded in death by his parents Art & Patty, his brother Charlie and his in-laws Dick and Anne Kenney.

In lieu of flowers, Arch’s family asks that donations be made to Bridgehaven Mental Health Services or the University of Louisville Autism Center at Kosair Charities.

Visitation will be at Highlands Funeral Home at 3331 Taylorsville Rd on Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and a funeral mass will be held at Epiphany Catholic Church at 914 Old Harrods Creek Rd on Saturday morning.

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One Comment

  1. Molly McDermott says:

    Arch Gleason was the best!

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