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Wally Bryan, Former Hopkinsville Mayor And Founder Of Challenge House Movement, Has Died

Submitted By The Hoptown Chronicle

Wally Bryan, who served as Hopkinsville’s mayor for two terms in the 1990s and and established the Challenge House movement to address poverty and inequality in the inner-city, has died.

Bryan died shortly before 4 a.m. Thursday, May 14, at his South Main Street home, said funeral director Frank Giles. He died of natural causes.

Hughart, Beard and Giles Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Bryan was a real estate broker before being elected mayor as a Democrat. He ran again for mayor as an independent in 2018 and lost to incumbent Carter Hendricks.

After leaving city hall in 1998, Bryan became a high school teacher. 

In 2004, Bryan began work on the Challenge House concept when he sold his Alumni Avenue home and moved to an apartment in the Durrett Avenue neighborhood. He was 57 years old at that time.

Today there are seven Challenge Houses in the city’s oldest neighborhoods that help connect residents with help from churches, relief agencies and volunteers. 

In an interview with the Kentucky New Era in 2004, Bryan, explained his motivation to help the city’s poorest residents. It was an expression of his Christian faith and his affection for his hometown.

“I should have done this a long time ago,” he said. “This is my dream. This is my life now.”

This story will be updated.

(Jennifer P. Brown is the editor and founder of Hoptown Chronicle. Reach her at

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