“Doc” Charles Lee Empson of Liberty, KS, passed away peacefully and surrounded by loved ones in his home on April 20, 2020. He was 82-years old. Chuck was born on August 20, 1937, at his family’s farm house near Russell Springs, KS. He was the second born and first son of William Thomas Empson and Marjorie Phoebe Empson. Both parents preceded him in death. He had 7 siblings, Margaret Marie (Peggy) Arnberger, Robert (Bob) Samuel Empson, Audry (Wilene) Norris, Thomas Eugene Empson, Glen Paul Empson, Barbara Jean Empson, and Richard Leigh Empson, with Peggy and Bob preceding him in death. He is survived by his loving wife Cindy Wiersch Empson whom he met while they were both working emergency medicine in Kansas City, MO. They married on October 8, 1971. He leaves behind two beloved daughters, Stacey Empson and her husband Dr. Eric Ruderman of Evanston, IL, and Stephanie Osler and her husband Steve Osler of Virginia Beach, VA. He is also survived by three sons, Stephen Empson of Raytown, MO, Charles Empson, Jr. of Lee’s Summit, MO, and Kevin Empson of Troy, IL. His daughter Cheryl Work preceded him in death. He leaves behind 13 precious grandchildren, Lucy, Nora, Cash, Avery, Amanda, Christopher, Katherine, Brooke, Derek, Rachel, Hannah, David and Jeremy. Chuck is also survived by his loyal and beloved caregivers, Stephanie Julian and Jamie McColm, who spent the last 2-years providing daily in-home care. He also leaves behind countless nieces, nephews and extended family members. He lived a full life and was loved by so many.
Chuck graduated from Winona High School and went on to enlist in the United States Air Force where he served 4-years as a medical corpsman. He graduated from the University of Wichita (now Wichita State University) with a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry. He attended medical school at the University of Kansas, graduating in 1968, and completed a 1-year internship in general practice medicine at Menorah Medical Center in Kansas City, MO. Chuck and his family moved to Independence, KS in 1973, where he had an independent family medical practice for more than 25 years until he joined Mercy Physician’s Group.
Chuck’s medical contributions to the community for more than 45 years were vast, and he cared deeply about his patients and their families. He delivered babies, performed surgeries, worked in several local emergency departments, and served as the Medical Director of Emergency Medical Services for the city of Independence for more than 10 years. Many in the community simply knew him as “doc.”
Chuck also served on the Board of Trustees for the Independence Community College for several years, and he was the former President of the Southeast Kansas Medical Society. Chuck loved fishing, playing tennis, and traveling with his family and friends. He joked that he was voted “best legs in Independence” during his active years. He was an avid animal lover and rescuer, and is survived by 5 rescue dogs and 4 rescue goats. Chuck will be deeply missed by those who knew him and who cherished his love and his friendship. We are grateful for the support of Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice throughout his last 2-years of life. Chuck had a smile and a laugh that could light up a room and a sense of humor that kept us all laughing until his very last breath.
In lieu of flowers, we ask that you consider a charitable donation in Chuck’s memory to A.W.O.L. (Animals With Our Love) in Independence, KS. Checks, made payable to AWOL Humane Society, can be sent to P.O. Box 290, Independence, KS, 67301. Please place “In Memory of Doc Empson” in the memo. Contributions may also be made online via paypal at: paypal.me/INDYAWOL. A memorial service to celebrate Chuck’s life will be held by his family at a later date.
Chuck’s grandchildren adoringly referred to him as “ChuChu.” His 12-year old grandson, Cash, shared this prayer with his ChuChu during his last hours:
“I pray the Lord his soul to keep;
If he should die before he wakes;
I pray to God his soul you’ll take;
Keep him safely through the night;
And wake him up with morning light.”
Cash wrote a loving tribute to his ChuChu, and we honor his memory with Cash’s words: “You’re a bright star in the lives of so many, and your light will never stop shining. I wish you comfort and love.”