A celebration of life for Professor Emeritus George J. Worth will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 23, 2016, at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Lawrence, 1263 N. 1100 Road.
Mr. Worth, 87, passed away peacefully on Friday, October 7th, 2016, at Bridge Haven at Alvamar. He was born on June 11, 1929, in Vienna, Austria, the son of Adolph and Theresa Schmerzler Worth (Wirtschafter). As a child, he left Vienna with his family during the Nazi occupation, and emigrated first to London, and finally to Chicago. He attended public schools beginning as a fifth-grader at John Fiske School in 1940, and graduated from Hyde Park High School in 1946. Mr. Worth attended the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1951, receiving his B.A. in 1948 and his M.A. in 1951, then moved on to the University of Illinois at Urbana for doctoral study. Before receiving his Ph.D. from Illinois in 1954, he spent the 1953-54 academic year writing his dissertation while on a Fulbright scholarship at University College London.
In 1955, Mr. Worth began a forty-year teaching career at Kansas University as an instructor, and was promoted to full professor in 1965. He taught students at all levels, ranging from remedial composition to honors courses to graduate seminars, directed 22 Ph.D. dissertations, and 11 senior honors essays. He was beloved by his students, many of whom he maintained contact with long after they left KU, and was the recipient of several teaching awards, including the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1988, and the Chancellor’s Club Career Teaching Award in 1994. Mr. Worth served as chair for the Department of English from 1964 through 1979, chaired the Senate/Faculty Executive Committee from 1980-81, the Search Committee for the Dean of College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1975, and the Chancellor’s Task Force on Faculty Development in 1979. Nationally, he engaged in extensive consulting, as an evaluator of English departments, of candidates for promotion and tenure at other universities, and of manuscripts submitted for publication. Mr. Worth himself wrote six published books and co-edited three others, as well as numerous articles, essays, and reviews; he also delivered papers at regional, national, and international meetings.
Mr. Worth’s particular area of interest was Victorian literature, with a focus on the works of Charles Dickens. He served as President of the Dickens Society in 1984, and chaired the MLA English 10 Victorian Literature program committee in 1974.
Mr. Worth met his future bride, Carol L. Dinsdale, during their elementary school days in Chicago. They married on March 17, 1951, and Carol preceded him in death on July 19, 2013. Together, they greatly enjoyed European travels, theater, opera, classical music, fine dining, reading, Scrabble, KU basketball, Royals baseball, and especially their many friends and family. Mr. Worth was a remarkably caring and attentive caregiver as Carol struggled with Alzheimer’s for more than six years. He was a kind, good-humored, and gracious gentleman, and will truly be missed.
Survivors include his son, Paul, and granddaughter, Hayley, of Wichita, daughter Theresa “Terry” Wilkinson, granddaughters Lauren (Nick) Adams and Claire (Aaron Stehman) Wilkinson, Lawrence, Lisa (David Eagle) Wilkinson, London, England, and five great-grandchildren.
The family would especially like to thank the devoted Assisted Living caregivers and staff both at Brandon Woods and at Bridge Haven, as well as the Visiting Nurses Association hospice staff, all of whom do such important work each and every day. Donations in Mr. Worth’s name may be made to the Douglas County Visiting Nurses Association Hospice, sent in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home.
For more information about the life of George Worth, please visit: http://www.kuonlinedirectory.org/endacott/data/OralHistoryTranscripts/WorthGeorge.pdf.