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Robertson Mueller Harper Funeral Home
1500 8th Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76106
(817) 924-4233

John Lilburn Wortham


1920 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences
John Lilburn Wortham Obituary
John Lilburn Wortham, professor emeritus of economics professor at Texas Christian University, died Sunday morning, June 8, 2014. Dr. Wortham was 94 years old. Service: 11 a.m. Thursday at University United Methodist Church, 2416 W. Berry St., with a reception immediately after the service. Following military honors by Dyess Air Force Base, he will be laid to rest next to his wife, Mary Beth, in Green Hill Cemetery, Mount Pleasant. Visitation: Family and friends will gather 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Great Room at Robertson Mueller Harper. Memorials: In lieu of flowers, consideration of contributions to NAMI Tarrant County, in his memory, is suggested. They may be addressed to the Mary Beth Wortham Fund, 603 W. Magnolia Ave., Suite #208, Fort Worth, Texas 76104. Born Feb. 9, 1920, in Athens, John was the son of William Albert and Maggie Shelton Wortham of Malakoff. In 1944, he and Mary Beth Mason were married. John was a fighter pilot, flying P-38s and P-39s in the U.S. Army Air Corps for four years and was honorably discharged in 1945 as a major. He received the Purple Heart and the Air Medal with oak leaf clusters. He received a B.A. degree from East Texas State University and a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. In 1948, he joined the faculty at Texas Christian University as professor of economics, serving as chairman of the department for 16 years. He was an honors professor and a member of the Faculty Senate for 10 years where he was chairman for two years. In 1998, the Southwestern Economics Association named him Texas Outstanding Economist. He authored a book on resource development and published numerous articles. Dr. Wortham was a member of the University United Methodist Foundation and for 12 years served as the church's president. Other memberships include the American Economics Association, the Mental Health Association and the Eagle Lake Beach Club, to name a few. He was on several hospital boards and was a director of the TCU Wesley Foundation for 55 years. After retiring, he was on the board of Tarrant County Mental Health Mental Retardation where he served for 10 years. He served on the Advisory Board for Trinity Springs, as treasurer for the Crop Walk, a director of NAMI- Texas, and director for NAMI- Tarrant County. He was active in civic affairs and in the Democratic Party for the 70 years he lived in Fort Worth. He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Mary Beth; son, Charles William "Cha" Wortham; sisters, Alyne Wortham Frost and Marcella Wortham Prehler; and brother, A.W. "Bill" Wortham. Survivors: In addition to his children and their spouses, John Lee Wortham and Karen of Houston, Mary Gayle Wortham Gray and W. Robert of Claremont, Calif., James Mason Wortham and Suzanne of Fort Worth, and Patria Margaret Wortham and John Burks of Houston, John is survived by his grandchildren, Bryna Elizabeth Wortham, Amy Wortham Scott and Thomas, Zachary Ivan Wortham and Winnie, Andrew Thoomas Wortham, Emily Paige Wortham, Kali Leigh Wortham, Michaela Boch Hahn and Mark, James Mason Wortham II, William Charles Wortham and Katy, John Mason Burks, Patria Meredith Wortham Burks and John Matthew Burks; great-grandchildren, Harper Van Eis, Thomas, Evan, Jocelyn Scott, Miles, Wes Wortham and Reece Wortham; Katie Campbell Jones, Margaret Keim Wortham and Rhonda Richards Wortham; brother, Joseph Sidney Wortham; numerous nieces and nephews and their families; and a multitude of students who brought him great joy!
Published in Star-Telegram on June 11, 2014
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