FONDA - A funeral service for former Montgomery County Sheriff Ronald "Rush" Emery will take place Saturday at the Fonda Reformed Church at 2:30 p.m.
Emery died Saturday night after a long illness at age 76.
The longtime former sheriff died at his home with those he loved, his daughter Holly said this morning.
"Rush was a real great guy and he will really be missed," Amsterdam 3rd Ward Supervisor Ronald Barone Sr. said Monday.
Barone said Emery played an important part when the new county public safety facility was being built. The sheriff visited other facilities around the state to determine the best options.
Sally Emery, Ronald's wife, said that he had been diagnosed four years ago with dementia, which had worsened as of late.
"He was a great father and a great husband," Mrs. Emery said.
Emery, as sheriff for 23 years, was responsible for putting forward some of the current programs the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office has, such as the K-9 unit, 911 system, dive team, SWAT unit and an inmate GED program.
Emery retired from the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office in 1997.
In a news release, Emery's tenure was described by current Montgomery County Sheriff Michael J. Amato and Undersheriff Jeffery T. Smith as one that involved countless hours of dedication, leadership, hard work and integrity.
"This is a huge loss to the law enforcement community and to the people of Montgomery County," the release said.
Glen Supervisor Lawrence Coddington worked with Emery during his first term as supervisor. Coddington said he worked with him during the April 1987 Thruway bridge collapse that killed 10 people.
"I have great respect for the man," Coddington said. "He did a wonderful job."
Amsterdam 2nd Ward Supervisor Jeffrey Stark knew Emery by reputation and through family who worked as part of the county's government at the time. Stark said he heard nothing but positive things about Emery.
"I've never heard anyone say anything bad about him," Stark said. "... He was kind of a local legend."
Mrs. Emery said that despite his job, he would still get torn up at times, especially in cases involving children.
"He saw a lot of sadness and hurting with families, but he always had to stay on top and be professional," she said. "When he got home, that's when it hit him."
The funeral will be held on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the Fonda Reformed Church. Visitation will be held at the Jackson and Betz Funeral Home on Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. The burial will take place in the spring, according to the former sheriff's obituary.