A former Kentucky court of appeals judge died Thursday from injuries sustained in a fire he battled after evacuating his wife.
Tom Emberton, 90, ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1971 before being appointed to the state appellate court in 1987 by a Democrat governor.
The fire was discovered at approximately 3:30 a.m. Thursday, Metcalfe County Coroner Larry Wilson said, according to a Courier Journal report.
“Tom heroically made certain his wife Julia made it to safety but lost his life during his effort to save their home,” said Emberton, Ky., Mayor Doug Smith in a Facebook post. “Tom Emberton was a treasured son of Metcalfe County Kentucky, having served as a lawyer and chief judge of the Ky. Court of appeals.”
“His wisdom, kindness and always sage advice was an encouragement to all,” Smith continued. “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.”
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) mourned Emberton’s death, saying he learned a lot about the rough and tumble of political campaigning from working on his 1971 gubernatorial campaign.
“He taught me valuable lessons on public service and running as a statewide Republican in Kentucky,” McConnell said. “Tom advocated for conservative values across our state and played a key role in organizing Kentucky Republicans at every level, paving the way for me and so many other conservatives to follow in his footsteps.”
Gov. Andy Bashear (D-KY) made no mention of Emberton’s death on his official site or Facebook page, but the state attorney general marked his passing.
“Makenze and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Judge Tom Emberton,” Attorney General Daniel Cameron said in a Twitter post. “Our hearts go out to his family. He was a good man and a dedicated public servant.”
The former judge is survived by his wife Julia, a daughter, Laura Emberton Owens, and a son, Tom Emberton Jr.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.