A long-serving Republican state senator in Kentucky, C.B. Embry, recently resigned from his position in the General Assembly due to an ongoing battle with cancer.
Less than a week later, unfortunately, state Sen. Embry passed away on Thursday at the age of 81, the local Spectrum News affiliate reported. He had served for two decades in the state legislature representing Western Kentucky’s Sixth District, first as a representative and then as a senator.
Loss of a “good friend” and great man
“A dedicated family man, successful business owner, and inspirational man of faith, C.B.’s values served as a bedrock in the state Senate and his contributions to our Commonwealth stand out on their own,” Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers said in a statement, according to Spectrum.
“He was a passionate advocate for public education and veterans issues, and raised the bar on everything he touched. The Commonwealth is a better place because of C.B. Embry,” he added. “We will forever hold you in our hearts, and offer our thoughts and prayers to Wanda and your entire family.”
Also issuing a statement was Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who said, “Elaine and I are heartbroken to learn of the loss of my good friend C.B. Embry.”
“For more than fifty years, until just this week, he dutifully served the people of Kentucky as Mayor, County Judge-Executive, State Representative, and State Senator,” he added. “I join with the chorus of Kentuckians he touched throughout his long career in mourning his loss.”
Praise from fellow Republicans as well as some Democrats
According to local CBS affiliate WLKY, Embry had announced his decision to retire earlier in the year due to his cancer diagnosis, but nonetheless continued to work and perform his duties even as he received treatment for the disease.
His dedication even drew praise from an ideological and political opponent, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D), who said in a statement, “I am saddened to learn this morning of the passing of C.B. Embry. He was loyal to the people of Western Kentucky and his contribution to the legislature over the last 20 years is immeasurable — he will be greatly missed.”
The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Embry had served his community in a number of different roles over the years, first as a small business owner and newspaper manager, then in politics as the elected mayor of Beaver Dam in 1973, as a county judge-executive in 1982, as a state representative in 2002, and finally as a state senator in 2014.
On the occasion of his final day in the legislature, Senate President Stivers said in a floor speech, “C.B. Embry is the epitome of a committed public servant who traveled back and forth to Frankfort, scheduling his treatments around our floor and committee activity,” and added, “He remained faithful to the office he was elected to and exercised the duties in which he dedicated his life. It has been an honor to serve in the Senate with such a dedicated person.”
Embry called his service an “honor of a lifetime”
The Herald-Leader further reported that Embry, in his resignation letter, said to his colleagues, “It has been an honor of a lifetime to serve the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the good people of District 6.”
“During my time in the Senate, I can truly say that I and my colleagues worked each day to make Kentucky an even greater state. I will miss my colleagues and staff in the Kentucky Senate, and will cherish the long-lasting friendships,” he added. Based upon the outpouring of condolences in his honor, it would appear that the feeling was mutual among his colleagues.