Longtime observers of Florida politics were saddened this week to learn that former Democratic state Rep. Emerson Lincoln Allsworth died at the age of 96.
According to his obituary, Allsworth was born in Miami where he went on to graduate from the University of Miami as well as its School of Law.
It noted that Allsworth "served in the U.S. Navy in World War II and was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Air Force Reserve during the Korean Conflict."
The obituary went on to recall how Allsworth "married the love of his life, Shirley McDowell" upon moving to Fort Lauderdale in 1952.
A biography on his law firm's website described Emerson as having "had a distinguished career of over 50 years of practicing law and community service."
"He has held elective office as the Broward County Prosecuting Attorney and served eight years in the Florida House of Representatives," it added.
"He has lobbied extensively at the state and local levels. He was the Governor’s appointee to the Florida Constitution Revision Commission and also served as a Municipal Judge," it recalled.
However, Allsworth had a colorful history, with the Washington Post reporting in 1984 that he was tied to a Florida nursing home company that was at the center of an extortion scheme involving Sunrise, Florida Mayor John Lomelo.
What's more, Allsworth was himself indicted seven years later along with four individuals from California on charges of laundering money for convicted drug smuggler and Miami powerboat racer Benjamin "Barry" Kramer.
Broward County Commissioner Nicki Grossman was telling the South Florida Sun Sentinel that although Allsworth had once been "a major player" in local politics, he had since receded from view.
"In the past two or three years, I haven’t seen him but once or twice. Time basically passed him by in terms of clout and visibility," Grossman explained.
The Broward Palm Beach New Times noted that Allworth ultimately pleaded guilty to the money laundering charges in 1991.
Tributes to Allsworth quickly appeared on social media, including from the City of Parkland, which recalled how he was "integral in naming the city. "
The City of Parkland mourns the passing of Emerson Allsworth, who was integral in naming the City. When resistance to name it "The Ranches" surfaced, Mr. Allsworth, who served in the Florida House of Reps. 1959-1966, proposed "Parkland." The City Charter was approved in 1963. pic.twitter.com/f5CjZlrkQL
— CityParklandFL (@CityParklandFL) May 26, 2023