Cover photo for Ross Worley's Obituary
Ross Worley Profile Photo
1947 Ross 2021

Ross Worley

October 5, 1947 — June 21, 2021

Ross A. Worley was born on October 5, 1947, in Omaha, Nebraska, to Charles V. (Chuck) and Elizabeth A. (Betty) Worley, their first child. The young family soon moved to Oregon where they worked as fire spotters for the U.S. Forest Service on a 30' fire tower. When Ross began to learn to walk about 11 months later, his parents figured that a home 30' in the air was not the best place for him to learn that skill, so the family moved to northwestern Arkansas, near Fayetteville. Ross' sister Susan was born there. The young family moved again in 1951 to Betty’s aunt's farm near Brookville, Ohio, then to an unfinished rural home nearby while Chuck learned a trade to support his growing family. Three other siblings were born during that period, Henry (Hank), Dawn and Faith. Chuck had been a conscientious objector during WWII, working in C.O. camps then serving two sentences in prison because he refused to return to the camps. While in Ohio, through a mutual friend, the family met another family whose father had been a C.O. Fred and Grace Smith had children similar in age and the families became close friends.

The families moved together to western Colorado, eventually ending up near Cedaredge, Colorado. The family lived a modified homesteader lifestyle, raising goats for meat and milk, chickens, a large garden and canning fruit and vegetables. A sixth child, Tim, was born in Colorado. Ross went by the nickname Buster until he entered 7th grade, when his folks felt he would be better served by using his given name. They had originally not given him a middle name, with the thought that he could choose his own, which he eventually did in his mid-twenties, choosing Allan. Ross did well in junior high and high school. He participated a bit in basketball and track, but was not a particularly good athlete because he was weakened by asthma, a disease he inherited from both sides of his family. During summers he worked picking fruit, hauling hay and occasional other farm work. He graduated from Cedaredge High School in 1966.

Ross entered Fort Lewis College that fall as a math major and engineering minor. He worked during the summers in construction and as a surveyor. He struggled in that major and eventually dropped out and took a job as an audiovisual technician in the John F. Reed Library at FLC. While employed there he was able to take one class at a time and graduated with a degree in Humanities (English, Spanish, and audiovisual courses) in 1979. He attended the University of Connecticut and graduated with a Master of Education degree with a concentration in Instructional Technology. He returned to FLC and built audiovisual services with equipment and materials collections for use by faculty in their classes. He helped move FLC classrooms into the digital era by providing computer and Internet connections and data projectors in classrooms. He retired from FLC in 2003 with about 32 years of service.

Ross married Irene Ruiz de Esparza in 1977. Since they didn't have children of their own, they adopted a brother and sister Noah Ross Worley and Tammy Regina Marie Worley in 1985 at the ages of 10 and 9. The marriage ended in divorce in 1993 with Ross becoming sole parent of the then teenagers.
After retiring from FLC Ross took a part-time job at the Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore as driver and as clerk and assistant manager. He worked there for seven years and enjoyed it since as it was similar to providing a service for the faculty at FLC.

Ross began attending the local Quaker services in about 1987 and became a member of Durango Friends Meeting in 1990. He served the Meeting in various capacities. but focused for much of his time on the Peace and Social Concerns Committee. He also taught First Day School (Sunday School) for over ten years, with primary emphasis on Biblical history and Jesus' teachings and on Quaker history.

Another genetic problem cropped up later in Ross' life, epilepsy. After some more seizures, he decided to quit driving in 2017 and moved to town, selling his country acreage. He enjoyed reading, following politics, alternative economic systems, layman-level science, immigration and human rights issues, climate change, trees and forestry and crime fiction.

He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Dawn Ellen Worley (Lance) and Faith Irene Heckman (John).

He is survived by siblings Susan Worley of Omaha, NE, Hank Worley (Sharry) of Colorado Springs, CO, and Tim Worley (Carol) of Claremont, CA; children Noah Worley of Cedar Hill, NM and Tammy Wilkerson of Bayfield, CO; grandchildren, Tyler (Logan) Worley of Cortez, CO, Sterling Worley of Jacksonville, FL, Ashley Phillips of Farmington, NM and Stetson Worley of Cedar Hill, NM; one great-grandson, Briggston Lee Worley of Cortez, and one aunt and a number of cousins.

A memorial service will be held in the tent outside the Durango Friends (Quaker) Meeting Hall at 10 am July 17, 2021. An informal remembrance also is planned for 2pm on Saturday, Sep. 25, 2021, at the Cedaredge Park Pavilion, Cedaredge, CO., to coincide with a family reunion.

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