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JD legend Roger Brashears dies

Posted on Monday, September 24, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Roger Brashears

Lynchburg lost one of its local legends this weekend. Roger Brashears died on Saturday at Harton Regional Medical Center.

For more than 40 years, Jack Daniel’s Roger Brashears told the legend, lore and stories of the distillery to anyone who wanted to listen. Over the years, he held many positions: – some official and some unofficial – storyteller, spokesman, publicist, promotions director and public relations director.

Some say there wasn’t a question about Jack Daniel he couldn’t answer. During his career at Jack Daniel, Roger earned a reputation of being a bit of a pack rat, which eventually led to his unofficial title of brand historian, according to the historical website Preserve America, who interviewed Brashears in 2009.

Born and raised in Oakdale, Tenn. – a small town near Knoxville, Brashears began his career with the distillery in 1963.

He came up in the business around co-workers like Angelo Luchesi, the JD sales rep that helped convert Frank Sinatra to Jack Daniel’s Black Label fan. The two of them, when together, could regale for hours with stories of their shenanigans on the road.

Eventually, he settled back in Lynchburg to oversee tours at the distillery.

He was known for some Brashearisms like when a reporter would ask him how many people worked at the distillery, Roger would reply, “about half of them.”

Throughout his career he worked tirelessly to promote Tennessee tourism. He earned multiple awards for his efforts and was one of the founding members of the Tennessee Back Roads Heritage organization, which promotes tourism in Moore, Bedford, Coffee, Lincoln and Marshall counties as well as Monteagle.

He is survived by Rosemary, his wife of 52 years and his children Robin (Chris) Walton and Katherine (Joel) Langham and four grandchildren. His funeral was held on Tuesday in Lynchburg. The family requested that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Roger’s name be made to the American Diabetes Association, 220 Great Circle Road, Suite 134, Nashville, TN 37228.