Dr. Richard Dixon Worley passed away quietly in his sleep on Sunday, October 22, 2017. He was 90 years old and had an extraordinary life. He was born on Xmas Eve in 1926 and was the youngest of 3 brothers. His mother Alice, father Harry and brothers Bob, Harry Jr have all passed away.
During WW2, he joined the Navy at 17 1/2 yrs old and was thrown directly into the war theater, stationed around Okanagwa. His ship shot down 4 Kamikazes before getting hit and Richard was thrown into the water twice. It was a very traumatic experience for a young boy.
After the war he married Joan Grier and they had 2 children, a girl, Sara and a boy, Richard Jr. Richard Senior was very driven to contribute and pushed himself to obtain excellence in everything he did. He got a masters in math in Chicago and a PHD in Nuclear Physics in Berkeley, where he became Dr. Richard Worley. He worked and studied under some very renowned developers of the Nuclear Bomb. He worked out of Lawrence Radiation Lab in California and would travel extensively to the Nevada Flats. He conducted Experimental research work that was placed around the Atom Bomb before planned underground explosions. There was an instance in which he had to actually hold up the bomb while an experiment was being set up!
He did this for years until a budget cut, when he moved to Amarillo, Texas to work at Pantax in the development and manufacture of weapons. There wasn’t much he could share with his family because of the restricted nature of his work. However he did mention that one of his experiments was to devise a process to quickly incinerate radioactive waste underground.
He later went on to teach at the University of Tennessee for several years. He then retired and moved to Sun City SC where his wife Joan died. It was then that he wrote his memoirs in a book called “The Heros of the Cold War”. Oh, he was so very proud of his book and began researching WW2 and the ships he was on. He became very involved in the running and restoration of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church and it was here that he met his second wife, Marlene. She passed away several years later from Alzheimer's.
Richard always loved the ladies and soon became enamored with Carolyn, his next door neighbor. The two of them had a very comfortable friendship for several years until he was diagnosed with Dementia. Everything was still fine until he had an operation in
June. That was his undoing. At 90, he just couldn’t recuperate and passed away four months later at NHC.
He was a busy man all his life, always chuckling/laughing and enjoyed his own jokes more than anyone else! He did have a wonderful sense of humor and an easy nature and wanted so much to contribute to the world. We can take comfort that he was blessed with such a wonderful, rewarding life. Not many people have the privilege of living so long and happy. He is survived by his daughter and son and two grandsons, Jeremy and Charlie and three great grandchildren, Julia, Evan and Aaron.
A graveside funeral service will take place at 1:00 p.m., Sunday, October 29, 2017 at the columbarium of St. Luke’s United Methodist Memorial Gardens Cemetery, 3080 Okatie Highway, Bluffton, SC.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to St. Luke’s Missionary Hospice.
Sauls Funeral Home of Bluffton is assisting the family.
St. Luke's Memorial Gardens
Sunday October 29th, 2017
3080 Okatie Highway
Bluffton, SC 29909
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