Jerry Lee Whitworth, 75, passed away surrounded by his family at Allen County Regional Hospital in Iola on Sunday, March 4, 2018.
Jerry was born on January 18, 1943 in El Dorado, Arkansas, the son of W.J. (Whit) and Fannie Sue Whitworth. He grew up in El Dorado and graduated from El Dorado High School in 1961. He attended and graduated from the University of Arkansas with a bachelor of science in Business Administration, where he met his wife, Sharon Kay McGinty. They were married August 15, 1964 in Neosho, Missouri.
After working in Little Rock, Arkansas for 5 years, Jerry took a leap in late 1969, bringing wife Sharon and 6 month old daughter, Tara, to Iola Kansas, excited to open a retail clothing store in 1970 called McGinty-Whitworth. They were delighted when son, Charlie, was born a year later.
Jerry loved the business and thought of his customers as family. He was a strong supporter of the community. Some of his contributions were serving as President of the Iola Chamber of Commerce, Co-chair of the Allen County Community College Endowment Fund, Board of Directors of Iola Industries, and Elder and Board Chair of the First Christian Church.
His heart belonged to the youth of Iola. He started the T- ball program and coached Little League and American Legion Baseball for 22 years, often practicing in the noon day sun on his lunchtime, much to the chagrin of the parents, but to the enthusiasm of the kids!
He loved the outdoors and being with his family, especially his grandchildren. Hiking in Colorado, biking the back roads of Kansas, and canoeing on Elk River in Missouri were some of his favorite things to do. He loved spending time at his "farm", planting trees and sharing his love of nature with his grandkids. He was also an avid reader, loving to continually learn new things. He looked forward to his men's morning bible study along with his Sunday night studies and cherished all of his friendships counting them as one of the most important things in his life.
Jerry loved the Lord Jesus Christ and was a man who sought to put others first. He was a generous servant-leader desiring to help people without recognition, a father figure and mentor to many. He battled pancreatic cancer bravely for almost a year, growing better instead of bitter. He was often more concerned for God's glory than his own relief. He was heard quoting Philippians 4:6-7 almost daily; "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
In addition to his wife, Sharon, Jerry is survived by his daughter, Tara Hartman and husband Brett, along with their children, Caleb, Nathan, Seth, and Anna of Mechanicsburg, PA and son, Charlie Whitworth and wife, Jill and their children, Cooper, Tucker, and Karlie of New Strawn, KS.
A visitation with family will be held on Friday, March 16, 2018 at First Christian Church, 1608 Oregon Rd., Iola, KS from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm. A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Saturday, March 17, 2018 at 10:00 am at First Christian Church in Iola. Services are being hosted by his family.
Memorial contributions may be given to First Christian Church of Iola.