Secretary of State

Leila Feltner Begley

Term of OfficeSeptember 21, 1970 - February 2, 1971
Governor during her term of OfficeGov. Louie B. Nunn
Assistant Secretary of State1968- Sept 21, 1970; February 2,1971-January 1, 1972
EducationBuckhorn High School (Buckhorn, Ky); Eastern Kentucky Teachers College (Richmond, Ky)
Spouse(s)Elmer Begley
ChildrenLouise; Carolyn; Elmer, Jr.
ParentsFelix C. & Ona (Maggard) Feltner
ResidenceIndiana (Austin)
Birth Date1/5/1915
Birth PlaceKentucky (Hyden, Leslie County)
Date of Death5/9/2010
Place of DeathIndiana (Scottsburg)
Place of BurialKentucky (Hurricane Cemetery, Leslie County)
Other State Offices HeldAssistant Secretary of State
Historical FirstsFirst woman to be appointed Kentucky Secretary of State.

Leila Feltner Begley, Secretary of State for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, September 21, 1970, to February 2, 1971, was born in Hyden (Leslie County) on January 5, 1915. She was the daughter of Felix C. and Ona (Maggard) Feltner. Mrs. Begley was a graduate of Buckhorn High School in Buckhorn, Kentucky, and Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College in Richmond. She was a home economics teacher for many of the thirty years she taught in the Leslie County school system.

In 1941 she married Elmer Begley. The couple had three children, Carolyn, Elmer Jr., and Louise.

When Elmer Begley became Secretary of State in 1968, he appointed his wife to the position of Assistant Secretary of State, an office she held until September 21, 1970. Following the death of her husband on September 18, Governor Louie B. Nunn appointed Mrs. Begley to her husband's office. She served as the first woman appointed as Secretary of State from September 21, 1970, to February 2, 1971, when she resigned the position and again assumed the role of Assistant Secretary of State.

She moved from Hyden, Kentucky, to Austin, Indiana, in 1975. A member of Hyden Presbyterian Church, she attended Austin Methodist Church in Austin, Indiana. She enjoyed cooking, sewing, and was an exceptional seamstress.

Secretary Lelia Feltner Begley died Sunday, May 9, 2010, at Scott Memorial Hospital in Scottsburg, Indiana. Burial is in Hurricane Cemetery, Hyden, Kentucky.


Information supplied by Leila Feltner Begley & Louise Begley Hume;

Kentucky Birth Index, Office of Vital Statistics;

"Louisville Courier-Journal," September 19 & 22, 1970;

Newspaper clipping, ca. September 19, 1970, Kentucky Historical Society Library vertical files;

Obituary: "Lexington Herald-Leader," May 11, 2010.