Cover photo for Winston L. Worden's Obituary
Winston L. Worden Profile Photo
1934 Winston 2020

Winston L. Worden

December 17, 1934 — October 22, 2020

Reverend Winston L. Worden
December 17, 1934 - October 22, 2020
Aged 85
Winston Lester Worden of Cottonwood, Arizona passed peacefully at Cottonwood Village on the late evening of October 22nd at the end of a decade long demise from Lewy Body Dementia with complications from COVID 19. For years he had been lovingly cared for by the nursing staff of Cottonwood Village, Bonnie Shimko's crew at Arizona Care Solutions and Arizona Hospice recently, all of whom were carefully orchestrated for 10 years by his oldest son, Wayne. Frequently expressing his gratitude for all the caregivers to his sons, he knew that all had paved a sweet, unfettered pathway to his eternal, heavenly lodging.
Born on December 17, 1934 in Wichita, Kansas, Winston was the only child to Anna Julia Morris of Rogers County, Oklahoma, and Lester James Worden, a onetime Fuller Brush salesman and Pikes Peak tourist car guide during the Depression in Colorado, then eventual locomotive engineer for the Missouri Pacific Railroad in Kansas. Winston grew up at 1617 Jackson Street in Wichita and graduated from North High School in 1953, entering Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma that year and embracing the private Christian school thoroughly, eventually graduating from seminary with his Divinity Degree as a Christian Churches, Disciples of Christ Minister in 1961.
Marrying Lois Jean Flint, a women's college basketball star and mathematician in 1961 in Ames, Oklahoma where she had grown up with her sister Anita as college-educated daughters of college-educated parents when that was uncommon, Winston certainly offered a poor, never easy, but always exciting ministers' life beginning in Marion, Kansas where Lois was active secretarial support in his nascent ministry. By 1962 their first son, Wayne Winston Worden, joined the family on September 16th in Augusta, Kansas, and Neil Flint Worden came along on January 6, 1967 as the New Year's Baby in the clearly tiny, tiny town of Marion. In a particularly tragic turn of events in Winston's life, Lois Jean (Flint) Worden developed cancer of the liver in the summer of 1967 which eventually took her life on February 17, 1968. Mourning, but undaunted even after six months of driving his wife back and forth to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Winston left his year old son Neil with his parents in Wichita, took his older son Wayne with him back to Marion, Kansas, and set out to find a new partner who could help him raise his young children in his ever challenging, but certainly interesting minister's life.
Back at the Marion Christian Church, Winston found that new partner in Dr. Phyllis Eileen Kemp, another previously active member of his small congregation who had graduated from the American Baptist College in Ottawa, Kansas, and ironically reunited with him by chance at a ministry conference on the East Coast where she was pursuing her MBA at the University of Maryland. She too was one of an all sisterhood family under an itinerant American Baptist Minister and his active educator and volunteer wife who had moved from small church to small church all over New England. Another perfect match for the eccentricities of that itinerant ministry lifestyle, Phyllis and Winston were married in 1969 surrounded by her own large family, and the new one she had forged by reuniting the Worden family with legal adoption of Winston's two sons at the same time. That whole business prompted a move to Minneapolis where Winston took his first extended ministry as Associate Pastor of First Christian Church in Fridley, Minneapolis.
\tIn 1975, in the midst of a deep, personal and career crisis for Winston, with a newly conferred PhD from Kansas State University for Phyllis, the family moved to Fort Collins, Colorado where Phyllis took a new job as the Associate Director of Colorado Cooperative Extension at Colorado State University. Winston worked as the Calling Pastor for First Christian Church in Fort Collins for many years, then itinerant minister of First Christian Churches in both Ault and Windsor, Colorado, an activities director for several nursing homes, a school bus driver, and even a lumberjack to support his itinerant ministry career. In 1994, after both his boys graduated from college and Phyllis had retired from CSU, Winston moved Phyllis to Red Feather Lakes, Colorado and worked at Ben Delatour Scout Ranch as the Camp Chaplain for many years in the 1990s, even working with his two sons who were periodically on summer camp staff at the ranch in those days. During that time, Winston and Phyllis began volunteering as house parents at the newly developed Rainbow Acres in the Verde Valley during the winters of Colorado as working snow birds in their retirement. In 2001, they made their final move to Cottonwood, Arizona where Winston and Phyllis devoted the last years of their life to Rainbow Acres and the ARC programs for uniquely abled adults who loved their guidance and devotion, and attended church at One in Christ Church, Canyon Trails Cowboy Church, and Parkside Community Church. Once again tragedy struck Winston in 2009 when Phyllis died at 69 years of age from metastasized breast cancer and Wayne moved to Cottonwood to take care of his father, and has worked as the chief driver for the Re-Store for Habitat For Humanity in Cottonwood, while Neil raised a family on the East Coast and continued his acting, directing and writing career out there. His entire life as an Eagle Scout from Wichita, Winston loved being a Cubmaster in Minneapolis, a Scoutmaster for BSA Troop 12 in Fort Collins, and finally, Scoutmaster for the Rainbow Acres Troop he founded in the early 2000s.
During his long and eccentric life, despite the difficulty of his itinerant ministry and some mental health challenges, and losing two wives to cancer, Winston retained an abiding love of three things besides family - History, Scouting, and God - and all of these he peppered with an eccentric joy that amused many, inspired admiration by quite a few, and perplexed a whole host of othersand that likely suited him just fine.
Winston Lester Worden is immediately survived by his two sons, Wayne Winston Worden caring for his estate here in Cottonwood, and Neil Flint Worden living in New York City with Winston's grandchild Orlando at Fordham Conservatory at Lincoln Center, and Orlando's mother Margo Anne Whitcomb, in Burlington, Vermont. Winston is also survived by his cousins Beverly Worden and family, Norman and Carolyn Morris and family, Carolyn (Ozbun) Peters and family, Phyllis (Ozbun) Berger and family, Kenneth Ozbun and family, Steve and Sylvie Proodian and family, and many other extended family on the Worden and Morris sides, as well as his nieces Janice and Christy Wichert and nephews Steven and Rodney Wichert and their families from his first wife Lois Jean Flint's family in Ames, Oklahoma, and his sister-in-law Sherry and husband Norm Kiracofe of Kalamazoo, Michigan and their daughters Chris and husband Jon Rienstra-Kiracofe with sons Micah and Caleb in West Lafayette, Indiana, and Deb and Mark Schultz of Portage, Michigan with their son Camden and daughter Marleigh, brother-in-law Jonathan Reiff of Edmond, Oklahoma and his daughters Cindy Richards of Dallas, Texas and her family, Sherry and John Thomas and their daughters Kylie, Abrielle and Revae, Jenny and husband Mike Giraux and their daughter Keagan and son Lincoln, all of Edmond, Oklahoma, and brother-in-law David Scudder in Michigan, all from Winston's second marriage to Phyllis Eileen Kemp.
Winston's cremated ashes were placed next to his deceased wife Phyllis' ashes in the Rainbow Acres Columbarium on November 9, 2020 in a small ceremony with his son Wayne and Gary Wagner of Rainbow Acres present. Memorial contributions may be sent in Winston's name to Rainbow Acres, P.O. Box 1326, Camp Verde, Arizona 86324. Naturally his soul has risen from the Columbarium though, and so a large Celebration of Winston's Life here on earth is planned for early June 2021 at Rainbow Acres in Camp Verde where family and friends will be invited to reminisce his loving, eccentric and extraordinary life story.

Funeral and Cremation Services
provided by
Westcott Funeral Home
1013 East Mingus Avenue
Cottonwood, Arizona 86326
(928) 634-9566
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