With heavy hearts, we report the passing of Jean Whitney Wortham on December 9th, 2020. Jean was born at home in Cayote, TX on April 28th, 1932, the daughter of Elsie and Homer Whitney. Growing up on the farm, Jean attended a one-room schoolhouse until high school. At Valley Mills High School, she was Editor of her senior yearbook, captain of the Girls’ Basketball team, chosen all VMHS Girl, and Salutatorian of her graduating class.
Jean graduated from Baylor University School of Nursing, Hillcrest Unit, and received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Education from Baylor University. Jean cared for victims of the deadly Waco Tornado of 1953 as a young nurse and worked as a scrub nurse for Dr. Michael DeBakey. Jean worked in various fields of health as a: Clinical nursing instructor, school nurse, camp nurse, and ended her career as a Disability Examiner for the Texas Rehabilitation Commission.
Jean was married to WWII Veteran Wendell Eugene Wortham on June 14, 1958 on the Baylor Campus. They had two sons: Stewart Vincent and Gary Kevin. She was a steady partner as they moved to Dallas, Houston, New Jersey, and Austin with her husband in the insurance business.
As a lifelong Baylor fan, Jean enjoyed using her sense of humor and biting wit to keep opposing fans on their toes. Jean was a devoted Methodist and always a member of the choir along with other positions in the church. She volunteered in many organizations as God was her “rock” and co-pilot.
Jean was very competitive, especially in Bridge, Rummikub, “42”, and tennis. Jean was a long-time member and officer of the Lost Creek Garden Club and the Lost Creek Tennis Club, where she exemplified love of life and fellowship. Jean was known for her pranks, her sense of humor, and her hearty and easy laugh.
Jean was preceded in death by her husband, Wendell Eugene Wortham, in May of 1981. Jean is survived by her two sons: Stewart and wife Carla, of Memphis, TN, Gary and wife Karen of Reno, NV, three granddaughters: Morgan and Cassidy and fiancé Jeff of Reno, NV, Whitney and son-in-law Davis Priester of Washington, DC and one grandson: Chase of Reno, NV, three brothers: Raymond Whitney and family of Valley Mills, TX, Jodie and Roseanna Whitney of Winter Haven, FL, and Wayne and Sandy Whitney of Austin, TX.
Mama Jean was a matriarchal figure in many lives, and she was a loyal friend and advisor to so many. Our Mama Jean loved her family and spent a great deal of time organizing family gatherings. She was the picture of resilience and knew the importance of laughter and community. We hope she is putting together a Tuesday Night Dinner Group in heaven.
A Celebration of Life service will be held post COVID-19 crisis. Mama Jean will be buried in Wortham Bend Cemetery in China Spring, TX.
Arrangements by Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 2620 S. Congress, Austin, TX 512/442-1446.
You may view memorials at www.wcfish.com.