Thursday, February 26, 2015

Longest serving host of 'Kentucky Afield' dies

Former "Kentucky Afield" television host Hope Carleton Sr. died today at his home in western Kentucky. He was 89 years old.

Carleton appeared on the show for 23 years, serving longer than any other host.

"He was a consummate, gentleman sportsman," said Norm Minch, assistant director of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources' Information and Education Division.

Carleton started his career with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources as a conservation officer in Fayette County in 1947. His broadcasting career began when the president of a local radio station asked him to do a half hour show about hunting and fishing in the area.

In 1957, Carleton left law enforcement to replace Ron Rhody as the host of "Kentucky Afield" television. Carleton, who said he felt insecure in front of the camera, served as host until his retirement in 1980. "I had a ball - I enjoyed it," he said during a 2008 segment on "Kentucky Afield" television.

Current "Kentucky Afield" host Tim Farmer knew Carleton as a true outdoorsman.

"Hope lived for the outdoors until the last day of his life. He duck hunted, fished and enjoyed every aspect of the outdoors," Farmer said. "He spent the last years of his live in western Kentucky, where he could pursue his outdoor lifestyle. He lived and breathed it until the end.  He will be remembered by Kentucky sportsmen and sportswomen forever."