Tom Emberton, a former judge on the Kentucky Court of Appeals, perished in a home fire on Thursday, just after rescuing his wife.
Officials said the fire was discovered at Emberton’s residence in Edmonton, Kentucky, about 3:30 a.m.
CBS News stated that Emberton, who was in his late 80s, escorted his wife out of the house before returning inside.
He never left the house again after that.
“He heroically rescued his wife and got her to safety. Then he went back in to save his home and lost his life,” Edmonton Mayor Doug Smith, a longtime Emberton friend, told WBKO.
“Tom was just the greatest guy in the world to be around. He was infectious to everybody. He had a way about him that was really special,” Smith added.
WBKO reports that Smith also released a message of condolence in response to Emberton’s loss.
“Today, Kentucky lost a great father, husband, friend and statesman in a tragic accidental house fire. Tom heroically made certain his wife Julia made it to safety but lost his life during his effort to save their home. Tom Emberton was a treasured son of Metcalfe County Kentucky, having served as a lawyer and chief judge of the Ky. Court of appeals. He was the Republican candidate for Governor in 1971. He was a friend to many and always a champion of South Central Ky. His wisdom, kindness and always sage advice was an encouragement to all,” the statement read.
“As a relative of Henry Clay, his ability to mediate and compromise came naturally, an attribute that would serve our country well at this time. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Julia, his daughter Laura Emberton Owens and son Tom Emberton Jr. and the entire Emberton family. Tom Emberton Jr. and his sister Laura Owens would like to thank the community and especially the first responders for their professionalism, quick response and kindness during this challenging time for their family,” the statement added.
WBKO stated that Emberton and his wife have been married for 65 years.
Emberton had a lengthy legal and political career, beginning as a lawyer in Metcalfe County, Kentucky. In 1971, he unsuccessfully campaigned for governor, according to CBS News.
Emberton was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 1987. According to CBS, he stayed on the court, acting as head judge for a while, until his retirement in 2004.
Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell warmly recalled Emberton as an early role model.
McConnell stated in a statement following Emberton’s death, “Tom gave me one of my earliest experiences in the rough and tumble reality of political campaigning, hiring me to work on his 1971 gubernatorial campaign.”
More on this story via The Western Journal:
“He taught me valuable lessons on public service and running as a statewide Republican in Kentucky,” McConnell added.
Many others held Emberton in high esteem and offered condolences upon his passing. CONTINUE READING…