Finally, Sherman Hemsley, best known as televisions’ George Jefferson, can be laid to rest after his July death because his will has been ruled valid by a Texas judge.
As we discussed previously, Hemsley’s burial had been held up when a man claiming to be his brother came forward to contest Hemsley’s will. Richard Thornton of Hemsley’s home city of Philadelphia claimed he was entitled to a share of Hemsley’s estate, which according to court records, is worth “more than $50,000.”
During the course of the proceedings, Judge Patricia B. Chew ordered DNA testing of Thornton, which did show that he was Hemsley’s half-brother.
Still, Thornton was not able to convince Judge Chew that Hemsley was not of sound mind when he signed his will, which left his entire estate to his “beloved partner” Flora Enchinton. Enchinton says she had known Hemsley for twenty years and lived with him for ten.
Indeed, after Judge Chew heard testimony from witnesses, she ruled that Hemsley was under no duress in the execution of his will and that the estate could proceed with burial plans.
Hemsley died on July 24, but his embalmed body was preserved in refrigeration in an El Paso, Texas funeral home until the burial could take place. According to ABC News, Thornton had wanted to bury Hemsley in a veteran’s cemetery in Philadelphia, but the El Paso Times reports that Hemsley will be laid to rest with military honors in El Paso on Wednesday, November 21.