WORLEY, Willis D. Jr.
Willis C. Worley, Jr., a long-time business and civic force in the Waurika and Jefferson County communities, died Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at his home in Waurika.
Willis, 75, was born Oct. 31, 1935, in Waurika. He was the eldest of three sons born to Florence (Mitchell) and Willis C. Worley. Funeral service for Mr. Worley was held Saturday, March 5, 2010, at the First Baptist Church in Waurika, with Rev. Rusty Stowe officiating. Burial was in the Waurika Cemetery under the direction of Dudley Funeral Home of Waurika.
Willis grew up in Waurika and graduated from Waurika High School in 1953. He was married to Barbara Reynolds in Waurika and to this union was born three children, Carmen Perkins of Thomas, Chris Worley of Dallas, Texas and Heather Harris of Ada. On June 8, 1984, he was married to Debra Kafer in Waurika.
After high school graduation he moved to Okmulgee where he attended Oklahoma State University Tech. He graduated in electronics and received the outstanding student award. He came back to the college to teach and taught there for two years. He held FCC radio-telephone license class 2 and taught the first transistor course offered at the college.
He moved to Tulsa in 1958, where he began work in the research labs of what is now the Exxon Oil Company. His worked centered on research in Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela and seismic studies of the lake. The company closed the Tulsa facilities in late 1960 and moved to Houston, Texas.
In 1964 he moved to Dallas, Texas to attend Dallas College of Mortuary Science in order to return to Waurika to help in the family business. He graduated with honors, was a class officer and was a member of Pi Sigma Eta Honor Fraternity. He was the second funeral director in the State of Oklahoma to be certified by the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practitioners in St. Louis, Miss.
He returned to Waurika and was active in the community. He was past president of the Waurika Chamber of Commerce, the Chisholm Trail Historical Museum, the Waurika Development Trust, the Waurika Industrial Foundation, a former member of ASCOG, WHS alumni Board, the American Red Cross, the United Fund and served as Chairman of the Jefferson County Hospital Board for several years.
He was a member of the National Funeral Directors Association and the Oklahoma Funeral Directors Association. He was named outstanding Citizen by the Waurika Business & Professional Women’s Club in 1976.
After the retirement of his father, he purchased the Willis C. Worley Funeral Home in Waurika and later purchased the Claud Grantham Funeral Homes in Ryan and Terral.
He went back to college, attending night classes, and graduated from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha, with a bachelor of science degree in business and economics in 1980. In 1982 he graduated from Oklahoma City University with a masters degree in business administration (MBA).
Willis accepted Christ at the age of 10 in an outdoor revival and became a member of the First Baptist Church. Over the years he served as assistant treasurer, assistant Sunday school director, Church Trustee, taught Sunday school for over 40 years and was ordained deacon on Oct. 15, 1973. To serve his Lord was his greatest desire.
He and Barbara are members of the “Fellowship of Christians and Jews” and have sponsored the return of 10 Russian Jews to Israel. (Jeremiah 32:37).
Willis was an avid fisherman and enjoyed the outdoors. He and Barbara enjoyed traveling and had the opportunity to visit such places as Australia, Germany, Italy, Egypt, Greece, Aruba, Barbados, the Panama Canal, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Ireland and the highlight of their travels, Israel.
Willis is survived by his wife Debra; one son, Chris Worley; two daughters, Carmen Perkins and Heather Harris; one brother, Joe Tom Worley of Waurika; two granddaughters, Karis Dick of Yukon and Loren Holman of Hydro; and two great-grandsons, Trevin and Jaxen Dick of Yukon.
He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Robert Bruce Worley.
Memorials may be made to the Jefferson County Hospital.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.dudleyfuneralhomes.com.