Paul D Empson

A memorial service for 79-year old Paul D Empson of Chadron, a district court judge for nearly 27 years, will be held Saturday, Oct 24, 2020 at 2 p.m. at the Chadron Berean Church.  

Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct 23, at Chamberlain Chapel in Chadron.

 Burial will be in Greenwood Cemetery in Chadron. 

Memorials may be made to the Chadron Berean Church, Gideons International, or a charity of the donor’s choice.

Online condolences may be made at

Paul D Empson was born September 21, 1941 at Concordia, Kansas, to Loran Ralph and Viola May (Boger) Empson.  He died at his home early Sunday morning, October 18, 2020, with his wife and daughter nearby.  

Paul was an all-around athlete in high school, graduating in 1959. He earned a degree in business from the University of Kansas in 1963.

While attending KU, Empson married fellow student Martha Ramsey of Wyandotte County, Kansas, on December 9, 1962 at the Danforth Chapel on campus. They were blessed with two children, Mark, who lives in Connecticut, and Laura of Chadron.

 A year after receiving his bachelor’s degree, Paul enrolled at the University of Kansas Law School and graduated with a Juris Doctorate degree in 1967.

As Empson was nearing graduation, Box Butte County Attorney Laurice Margheim sent a letter to the law school seeking applicants to become the deputy county attorney and a law partner.  Empson was chosen to fill the positon.

 He remained in Alliance until Gov Charles Thone appointed him as a district judge in the 16th Judicial District judge beginning October 1, 1980. The family moved to Chadron and he remained a judge until retiring June 30, 2007.

 Shortly after arriving in Chadron, through the encouragement of Frank Van Campen, pastor of the Berean Church, Empson accepted Jesus Christ as his savior, changing his life forever for the better.

Always an avid reader, Empson studied the Bible thoroughly. He was a natural teacher and within a few years was leading Bible studies and teaching Sunday school classes at his church, which he did for decades.  

Paul was also chairman of the Berean Church board for many years, and with his wife joined Gideons International in 2011, both becoming staunch supporters of its efforts.

Paul had a strong personality and did everything with zeal and excellence. He was skilled in discernment and loved to help solve problems, offering guidance and assistance to those in need or with issues, including some who had come before him in court. He loved children, and being “Papa Paul” to friends’ children.

His daughter notes that when he watched sports on television, Paul nearly always rooted for the underdogs unless they were playing the Kansas Jayhawks. 

Other special pastimes included both big game and turkey hunting, target shooting, playing tennis and traveling with Martha by motorcycle from coast-to-coast. He loved his family and made sure they took many vacations together. 

Besides his wife and two children, he is survived by a sister, Carole Blixt, and her husband, Lennie, of Chapman, Kan. 

 Pastor Frank Van Campen will return to conduct the memorial service.  The nine children of Daryl and Stephanie Regier of Chadron will serve as honorary pallbearers. 

 Chamberlain Chapel is in charge of arrangements.