William L. Worrell

William Lawrence Worrell was born Feb. 10, 1943, in Hutchinson, Kan., to Hubert Lawrence Worrell and Rose Mary Manges. Bill was the first child born to this couple.

His father, Hubert, was a Navy pilot, stationed many places. He missed his family, writing letters with sketches of airplanes to his children Bill, Chuck and Marsha. Bill would answer with detailed sketches of his own.

Rose Mary had a tough job raising their children while Hubert was gone, but she dearly loved her family. When Bill was only 11, they lost Hubert in a peacetime aircraft training accident, leaving Rose Mary with three children and expecting another one, John.

The family resettled in Hutchinson, Kan., to be near relatives. While there, Rose Mary married Johnson Adam Black. They had a daughter, Rosellen. The Worrell children were adopted by Johnson and added the last name “Black.”

After Bill graduated from Hutchinson High School in 1961, the family left for San Diego. Bill drove his mother and siblings there in his own ’56 Chevy.

Bill met Vickie Saether, his wife to be, in San Diego. They married in 1962. Bill graduated from junior college, focusing on art and math classes. They had three children, Tamara Lynn, Robert Lawrence and Todd Evan. Bill completed his apprenticeship training at North Island.

In 1970, they made the adventurous move to China Lake. Small-town living appealed to Bill and proximity to rock collecting interested Vickie. They left one Navy town by the ocean for a much smaller one in the Mojave Desert.

Bill took up competitive go-cart racing, running at many tracks, including Willow Springs. The family rode off-road motorcycles and Jeeps on Saturdays and went target shooting.

While at the Naval Weapons Center, Bill continued taking classes and advancing, until in 1980 he was presented the the McLean Award, recognizing his exceptional creativity and 15 patents, furthering the mission of the center. This was the pinnacle of his career.

His work came to an abrupt halt, in 1985 with a tragic accident during a test on base. All this time, his wife and children had been attending church. Many people had been praying for his salvation.

During the past 10 years he had been experiencing tremors. This was the onset of Parkinson’s. One day, he asked his wife, “Isn’t your church baptism coming up soon?” He prayed with Pastor Glenn and was baptized that Sunday.

There had been a small window of opportunity, and Bill took it. Soon after that, the dementia took his brilliant mind, then his body. But, he is safe with the Lord now.

Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He us near. Isaiah 55:6

He was predeceased by his parents, Hubert and Rosemary; brother, Chuck; sister, Marsha, and infant sister, Marliene.

Services will be held Saturday, Feb. 25, at 2 p.m. at Calvary Chapel.

— Submitted by the family of Bill Worrell

Story First Published: 2017-02-24