Ronald Rush Emery, 76, of Fonda, N.Y., passed away Saturday evening, December 29, 2012, at his home with his loving family at his side.
Born in Buffalo, N.Y. on September 30, 1936, he was the son of the late Clark and Isabel Carlish Emery. He lived in Montgomery County for his entire life and was a graduate of St. Johnsville High School. Upon graduation, he proudly served in the U.S. Navy on active duty and as a reservist for eight years. On September 1, 1957, he married Sally Lee Klock.
Rush's interest in law enforcement began at the age of 12 when St. Johnsville Chief of Police Ben Walrath gave him license plates "to look out for" while perched on the front step of his family's store. His professional career began in August 1960 when he was appointed as a deputy sheriff by Sheriff Alton Dingman. He was selected to serve as county investigator/undersheriff by Sheriff William S. Wert in July 1966. In October 1974, he was appointed by Governor Malcolm Wilson to serve as Montgomery County Sheriff upon Mr. Wert's retirement. Mr. Emery was the first sheriff in New York state to serve all his terms unopposed in the general election. He retired in October 1997 after 37 years of distinguished service to the people of Montgomery County.
During his years in law enforcement Sheriff Emery graduated from the National FBI Academy in Quanitco, Va., the National Corrections Academy in Boulder, Colo. and the National Sheriff's Institute at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He also served as an instructor at numerous fire and law enforcement programs. Sheriff Emery was a member and chairman of the executive committee of the New York State Sheriff's Association and was a member of the National Sheriff's Association. He also was a former member of Rotary International.
Sheriff Emery pioneered several groundbreaking programs at the sheriff's department which included the K-9 unit, 911 system, dive team, SWAT unit and in an effort to combat high rates of recidivism, an inmate GED program. He oversaw the construction of the public safety building that bears his name.
During his retirement, Rush continued to enjoy his lifelong interests. He traveled extensively throughout the U.S. including Alaska and Hawaii, and to Europe. His part-time work at the Agway Garden Center allowed him to indulge in his love of gardening. He was an avid reader, stamp collector, history buff and outdoorsman. Of all his passions, the one that escaped him though was seeing his beloved Chicago Cubs win a World Series.
In addition to his loving wife of 55 years, survivors include his beloved children, Jill M. Emery of Fonda, N.Y., Jamie L. (Dr. Charles) March of Glendale, Calif., Shawn K. (Susan) Emery of Hagaman, N.Y., Richard J. (Bonnie) Emery of Amsterdam, N.Y., Joel A. (Brooke) Emery of San Diego, Calif., Holly A. (Michael) Emery-Wheeler of Albany, N.Y. and Todd C. (Stephanie) Emery of St. Johnsville, N.Y. He has eight beautiful grandchildren that he adored - Nicholas, Jonathan, Brittney, Julia, Will, Isabella, Madison and Devin; one great-grandchild, Nathan Acosta; four stepgrandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. He is also survived by several sister and brothers-in-law that were like his own siblings.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, January 5, 2013, at 2:30 p.m. at the Fonda Reformed Church, 21 Broadway, Fonda, N.Y., with Rev. Karen Paterson officiating. Interment will be in the spring with full military honors at the West St. Johnsville Cemetery, St. Johnsville, N.Y. The family will receive relatives and friends on Friday, January 4, 2013, from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Jackson & Betz Funeral Home, 15 Main Street, Fultonville, NY. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in his name to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas 66675, the Montgomery County Office for Aging, Guy Park Avenue, Amsterdam, NY 12010 or the Alzheimer's Association Northeastern New York, 4 Pine West Plaza, Suite 405, Albany, NY 12205. Please sign the family guestbook at www.brbsfuneral.com.