Theo's Story

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Theo Clark Embry died on September 30th in Waco, Texas after a brief illness. Theo lived his life true to his principals and passions. He loved his family first, and at times it seemed only slightly less, he loved flying his airplane and working in his shop. Through his many years in business, he was known for always keeping his word and giving everyone a fair shake. Theo was born November 3, 1926 in Mountain View, Oklahoma, but at a young age his family moved north Texas where he spent his youth and early adulthood. His father was a rancher. From an early age, Theo's natural mechanical abilities allowed him to keep the ranch equipment running. He was fascinated by airplanes since he was a child. As a teenager he learned to fly, and continued flying well up into his 80s.
He met the love of his life, Helen Groves from Petrolia, Texas, while they were both in college in Denton and they were married in 1952. Because of injuries suffered in a plane crash in his early 20's, Theo was not able to pursue his desired career of owning a machine shop. Never one to be defeated, he opted for an alternative business career. In 1963 he and Helen moved their family to Cleburne, TX so he could start an insurance business. Theo eventually expanded his business to include Theo Embry Real Estate. Theo prided himself in providing affordable housing for Cleburne's working families. He helped many families own their first home, and was instrumental in the renovation of East Cleburne. While Theo did not always agree with all the city officials on what was best for Cleburne, he was dedicated to making his city a better and safer place to live. He donated his time and material to apply fire retardant to all of the historical buildings at Cleburne State Park. Theo was a leader of the Exchange Club and Kiwanis of both Cleburne and Keene. He was active in the Johnson County and Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors, on the Texas State Insurance board, and the Civil Air Patrol where he obtain the rank of Captain. He was a member of St Mark's United Methodist Church in Cleburne.
In 1984, Theo and Helen moved to acreage outside of Cleburne where he spent many of his happiest years. He had his own runway and could regularly fly around Johnson and the neighboring counties to keep a bird's eye view on what was happening. He built his dream shop where he spent uncounted hours building, fixing, and improvising all manners of things. He and his grandchildren enjoyed many happy hours together there. His last passion project was the creation of the township of Coyote Flats. He, Jim McHale, and some of their neighbors banded together to incorporate their little piece of paradise and avoid annexation by any of the neighboring towns. During these years, Theo and Helen found immeasurable pleasure in travel. Theo would say "Plan us another trip Helen". She would comb through the tour catalogs, and they would be off on their next adventure.
Theo was preceded in death by his parents, Starling and Winnie Embry and his sister Naomi Austin. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Helen Groves Embry now of Waco; his two children, Elaine Embry-Mullins of Waco, and Dale Embry and his wife Jane of Houston; his three grandchildren, Ruth Ann Mullins, Thomas Embry Mullins, and Annalee Embry; and three great-grandchildren.
A graveside service will be held at the Petrolia cemetery on Saturday, October 7th at 2 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Methodist Children's Home in Waco. Theo and Helen have been long time and dedicated supporters of its mission. The family would like to thank the employees of Arbor House for taking good care of Theo during his last months.
Thoughts and memories may be shared in the online guestbook at davisfuneralhome.net.
Published on October 3, 2017
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