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Charles W. Wurth of Wichita, Kan., passed away Saturday, January 18, 2014, at the age of 82. Born in Thomas, Okla., the eldest son of John and Lola Wurth spent his boyhood in Enid, and received his bachelor's degree in Education from Oklahoma A&M. While attending graduate school for speech pathology in Wichita, he met and married fellow graduate student Mary Norris in 1953. Chuck spent the first 16 years of his professional life devoted to helping the disabled, rising to lead the Institute of Logopedics (now Heartspring), a non-profit, worldwide center for children with special needs. His leadership and capital-raising efforts led to engagements with well-known figures such as Bob Hope, Attorney General Ramsey Clark and Indira Gandhi. In 1968 he left the Institute to build Mid-America Health Centers, which became one of the most respected businesses in the field of long-term care, with a legacy including skilled nursing facilities, assisted living centers, home-based health care and services for disabled adults. His unique vision led to a focus on rural health care, Alzheimer's-dedicated facilities and kindergartens located within nursing homes. He had an influential presence in Topeka, where he volunteered his business expertise to help shape policy on both sides of the aisle. In addition, he served as vice president of the American Health Care Association and president of the National Cerebral Palsy Foundation. Beyond his business interests, Chuck's faith and civic contributions included lifelong involvement in Rotary Club, the Kansas Health Foundation, and The Lord's Diner. He was an avid outdoorsman and engaging storyteller. His greatest passion, however, was his family. He is survived by Mary, his wife of 60 years; his five children, nine grandchildren and one great granddaughter; and his brother, John and sister, Joan. He is preceded in death by two loyal bird dogs. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, at St. Thomas Aquinas Church. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the Rotary Club of Wichita, 106 West Douglas Ave., Wichita, KS 67202. Tributes may be shared with the family via www.dlwichita.com Arr.: Downing & Lahey Funeral Home, Wichita.
Published in Kansas City Star on Jan. 22, 2014
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