McConnell Leads Tributes to Ex-Kentucky Gubernatorial Candidate, 90, Who Died After Saving Wife From House Fire

Katabella Roberts
By Katabella Roberts
October 21, 2022US News
McConnell Leads Tributes to Ex-Kentucky Gubernatorial Candidate, 90, Who Died After Saving Wife From House Fire
Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) speaks at a news conference after the Senate luncheons in the U.S. Capitol in Washington on June 22, 2022. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

A former Republican Kentucky gubernatorial candidate died in a house fire on Thursday, officials have confirmed.

Tom Emberton, 90, who also served as chief judge of the state Court of Appeals, was at home in Edmonton when the fire began at around 3:30 a.m., Metcalfe County Coroner Larry Wilson said.

Emberton sprung into action and helped to get his wife, Julia, out of the property before going back inside to try and save his home but failed to make it out again, Wilson said.

By the time the fire department arrived at the scene, the house was already burned to the ground.

“He heroically rescued his wife and got her to safety,” Edmonton Mayor Doug Smith, who was a longtime friend of Emberton, told local ABC affiliate WBKO. “Tom was just the greatest guy in the world to be around. He was infectious to everybody,” Smith said. “He had a way about him that was really special.”

Smith added that the fire was accidental.

Emberton, who was born in Monroe County, completed a four-year tour of duty with the United States Air Force, before enrolling at Western Kentucky University. He was inducted into the WKU Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 2016.

‘Model Gentleman … Devoted Husband … Wonderful Father’

The GOP candidate made a failed bid for governor of Kentucky in 1971 and was appointed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals in 1987 where he was reelected twice and also served as chief judge of the appellate court before retiring in 2004.

He and his wife had been married for 65 years and share two children; Laura Emberton Owens and Tom Emberton Jr., and five grandchildren, according to local reports.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who served on Emberton’s gubernatorial campaign, paid a touching tribute to him in a statement on Thursday.

“Elaine and I are heartbroken to learn of the tragic passing of our good friend Judge Tom Emberton,” McConnell wrote. “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. He taught me valuable lessons on public service and running as a statewide Republican in Kentucky. 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.”

McConnell noted that after Emberton’s retirement from the Kentucky Court of Appeals, he and his wife “continued to be active in the Metcalfe County community, and Tom received a number of well-deserved honors and awards.”

“Tom was a model gentleman, a devoted husband, and a wonderful father, grandfather, and great-grandfather,” McConnell added.

From The Epoch Times

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