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Lawrence Ems: a lifetime of connections

‘Sometimes it’s just easier to let everything go and be told,’ said Tammy Ems, whose father, Lawrence Ems, 75, died in a tractor accident on the family farm at Central Barren on Saturday night, Nov. 29.
Lawrence Ems was well-known in northern Harrison County, having ‘worked two lifetimes,’ for two different businesses, Tammy said. He worked one lifetime (25 years) at Skelly Oil Co., later Getty Oil, a few miles north of the farm, and another 20 years for John Davis at Davis Crushed Stone and Lime in Ramsey.
Tammy said more than 600 people came to the funeral home during visitation.
Tammy said with a bit of weariness in her voice that she’s had so many inquiries about her dad’s death that she wants everyone to know that it was death due to an accident, not a heart attack, as some people had speculated.
Tammy said Lawrence was on the back part of his 220-acre farm late that afternoon, bringing in rolls of hay for the cattle on his Allis Chalmers WD45, ‘just as he’s done every day since 1977.’ She said he was on a little bit of an incline and something must have gone wrong. The tractor rolled over on its right, and the position of the body indicated that Lawrence had tried to jump off but couldn’t. Harrison County deputy coroner John Gott determined that Lawrence died of a massive head injury.
Tammy found her dad about 5:30 p.m. He wasn’t pinned under the tractor. No part of the tractor was touching him, but he was under it. Gott figured the accident had happened about one hour earlier.
Tammy, 44, and her brother, Willie, 52, who’s been having serious kidney problems, think their dad may have had trouble getting through a gate. The back tire may have spun.
A large number of Canada geese, perhaps 100 to 150, live at the Ems’ farm, coming and going as they please on a pond behind the barn. Tammy said she and her dad fed the geese morning and night, but they seemed to know Saturday night that something was different, she said, because they were acting strangely.
The next morning, although Tammy had put out corn, just as her dad had done for five years, the geese didn’t eat. They just circled around and mingled on the edge of the pond, like they were waiting for something.
‘It’s like they know that he’s not here,’ she said.
It was the same way with the barn cats. ‘They’ve been spending more time with us than ever before. It’s strange how animals know these things, but they do.’
A neighbor, Phyllis Crush, said in church Sunday at Central Barren United Methodist that on the day of the funeral, as the procession made its way toward the Central Barren Cemetery, she heard some geese and looked up. She saw them circle the cemetery and then fly back to the pond.