Jessica Lea Embry, 40, fine arts teacher and orchestra director at Eugene Ashley High School

Jessica Lea Embry

WILMINGTON — On Sunday, April 18, 2021, Jessica Lea Embry, 40, went home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jessica unselfishly gave her life to save two children from drowning at Kure Beach. Jessica was born Feb. 23, 1981, in Morgantown, West Virginia, and raised in Clarksburg, West Virginia.

Jessica was preceded in death by her father, Paul S. Embry; and mother, Sharon L. Embry, both of whom she missed dearly. She was the granddaughter of the late Paul M. Embry and Julia Folio Embry of Clarksburg, West Virginia, and the late John S. Richards and Martha L. Richards of Clarksburg, West Virginia. Jessica is survived by her brother C. Patrick Richards of Englewood, New Jersey; aunts, uncles and many cousins.

Jessica graduated from Robert C. Byrd High School in 1999. She was a graduate of Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, with a Bachelor of Music in 2003 and a Master in String Bass Performance in 2005. Jessica also received her Master of Music in Music Theory from University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2007.

Jessica grew up in a swimming family, starting at the age of 5 at Stealey Pool in Clarksburg, West Virginia. She was a competitive swimmer, both with the Morgantown Aquatic Club (MAC) in Morgantown, West Virginia, and the YMCA in Clarksburg. Jessica was also a certified life guard as well as a swim coach for Clarksburg Country Club and Lumberton High School. Jessica shared a love for the ocean with her late mother dating back to her childhood. Many a summer were spent in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with her family and cousins.

Jessica started her teaching career in Lumberton and later relocated to Wilmington, where for the past nine years was a fine arts teacher and Orchestra Director at Eugene Ashley High School. She helped create the United Sound program, which paired special needs students with those in her orchestra class. Through that partnership, the students were able to get hands-on experience with instruments and learn how to play music.

Jessica loved her church family. She was a member of the Lifepoint Church in Wilmington and was actively involved in many aspects of the church. She learned to play a new instrument to fill a need in the Worship Band, served on the prayer and care team and went on several mission trips to Uganda, eager to serve women and children there.

A service to celebrate the life and legacy of Jessica Embry will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, April 24, at LifePoint Church Pine Valley Location, 3534 South College Road, Wilmington. The service will be streamed live on their Facebook page. In addition to the memorial on Saturday, several Carolina Beach locals will be having a “paddle out” and beach gathering at 2 p.m., Sunday, April 25, at Kure Beach, N. Avenue Access. A memorial service will be held in Clarksburg, West Virginia, at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to support some of the causes that were near to Jessica’s heart, including United Sound program, Uganda missions, Foster Pantry, Nourish NC, etc. The donations may be made on GoFundMe, Jessica Embry Memorial Fund.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. – John 15:13

Share online condolences with the family at Coble Funeral and Cremation Service at Greenlawn Memorial Park.

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