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David T. Worth
January 22, 1939 ~ August 29, 2023 (age 84) 84 Years Old
David Thomas Worth, 84, of West Jefferson, NC, passed away
peacefully August 29, 2023, at his home with his wife by his side.
Although David traveled far across the globe, his soul was rooted in the
mountains of Ashe County. Born in Jefferson in 1939 as the youngest
of five children, David was a natural storyteller and told his children
tales of life in the mountains, happy memories of friends and family, and
Appalachian ghost stories. Somehow, he forgot to tell his children
about his pranks and escapades, such as letting a goat loose in the
courthouse. After his return to Ashe County in 2008, there were many
old friends who were delighted to embarrass him with their
David graduated from Jefferson High School in 1955 at the age of 16
where he was president of the senior class and member of the
basketball team. He attended Lees-McRae College and worked several
jobs before joining the Air Force at 19. The Air Force discovered David’s
aptitude for foreign languages and sent him to Yale to study Chinese
Language (he graduated top in the class), then posted him to Japan.
These experiences changed the course of David’s life, leading him to
choose a career that would take him overseas. He wasn’t one to say no
to new experiences or challenges.
After returning to the US from Japan, David attended Indiana University
at Bloomington where he received his master’s degree in Far Eastern
Languages (Chinese and Mongolian). Shortly afterward he joined the
Department of State, which appreciated David’s expertise in languages,
and posted him to several Asian countries to include Singapore, Hong
Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia. He and his first family enjoyed adventures
such as a cross-country trip to a volcanic lake where cannibals once
reigned, snorkeling in the spice islands near Krakatoa, footraces in the
jungle, and horseback riding in the Indonesian mountains. David’s final
Asian posting was in Myanmar (Burma).
Upon his retirement in 1994, David traveled widely with his wife Janice,
as she continued her career, living in countries across Europe and
Africa. He always found some kind of escapade to get into in his quiet,
wry manner, be it coaching his daughter’s fourth grade basketball team;
supporting orphaned youth; burning his feet on the tin roof of his own
house in Africa; surprising Chinese tourists with his fluency; running
road blocks during a coup; diligently writing letters to his beloved sisters
in Ashe; mastering the art of grilling salmon while continuing to fry Spam
and hot dogs; or absolutely butchering the German and French
languages. No fine European chocolate could hold a candle to a
David found good friends in every remote and not-so-remote country
who appreciated his kindness, even-keeled demeanor, and a quiet but
wicked sense of humor. Although he’d experienced and achieved more
in life than perhaps even he would have expected as a young man from
a small town in Appalachia, David Worth never forgot his roots or his
love for Mount Jefferson.
David is survived by his wife of 34 years, Janice M. Worth and daughter
Alex of Wilmington, NC, and his children Anne Worth (Ron) of
Chelmsford, MA, and Jonathan Worth (Juliet), of Gainesville, Florida
whom he shared with his former spouse Retha Stansberry who
predeceased him; his sister Ina Ruth Hurley and her husband Gale; two
grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased
by his sisters Elizabeth Worth and Jennie Clyde (Worth) Hightower, and
his brother Joseph Worth , a.k.a. “Buzz.”
The family will received friends on Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 10:00am – 12:00pm at Badger Funeral Home in West Jefferson.
The family wishes to thank Ashe Memorial Hospital Oncology staff and Medi-Home Hospice for their loving care.
Memorial donations may be made to:
Museum of Ashe County History- Courtroom Restoration Project
PO Box 1404
Jefferson, NC 28640
To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of David T. Worth, please visit our Tree Store.
Saturday October 7, 2023 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM Badger Funeral Home & Cremation Services 300 E Main Street West Jefferson, NC 28694