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David Hodges Worley

• Feb 13, 2019 at 3:18 PM

November 19. 1940 - February 8, 2019

RALEIGH, NC - On Friday, February 8, 2019, David Hodges Worley, loving husband and father of two, passed away at age 78.

David was born on November 19, 1940 in Bristol, VA and grew up in Kingsport, TN. After graduating from Dobyns-Bennett High School, he attended Vanderbilt University with a mathematics and engineering scholarship. As president of Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, he was known as “Bear.” He went on to earn a Master’s Degree in English at Northwestern University.

David was a civil rights activist, who marched on Washington in August, 1963 when Dr. King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, protested at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, and mentored community activists throughout his life.

He married Toni in August, 1963, and two weeks later they jetted off to his first teaching job—and extended honeymoon—at the University of Hawaii. He returned to Northwestern for post-graduate studies and teaching.

Subsequently, for over 40 years he was a dedicated English professor at Lincoln Trail College, at Murray State University, and at Lincoln Memorial University. David will be remembered for his passion for literature and the fine arts as well as for his devotion to his students.  

David had a love for the outdoors. He planted an apple orchard and enjoyed spending long hours working in the garden. He liked nothing more than to share all his fresh and preserved fruits and vegetables with family and friends. He valued the independence and self-sufficiency small farming provided. Birdwatching and canoeing with friends were also favorite outdoor activities. His quick wit and compassionate spirit endeared him to his friends and family.

He also planted seeds in the local Cumberland Gap community for soccer. Together with a family friend, he founded the local AYSO chapter, starting with 40 kids and growing to over 400, ten years later. The legacy still lives in the community.

David was preceded in death by his father, Joe Williams Worley, and his mother, Helen Hodges Worley. He is survived by his wife Toni after 55 years of marriage, his two children, Anna Worley of Raleigh and Stephen Worley (wife Courtney) of Indianapolis, as well as by his two siblings, Judy Jo Small (husband Tom) and John Stanley Worley (wife Ann). In addition, David had two grandchildren, Griffin and Cooper Worley, and several cousins, nieces, and nephews.

A private memorial service will be held for family on Saturday, February 16 in Raleigh, NC. In lieu of flowers you may honor David with a contribution to your local National Public Radio station.

Arrangements by Brown-Wynne, 300 Saint Mary's Street, Raleigh.

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