WALTER COUVILLION WORTHY, JR.
November 4, 1926 - June 10, 2005
Walter spoke of an early childhood memory that was formative to his call to preach as a Methodist pastor. As a young child he remembered preaching in an open field to an imaginary congregation as he stood upon a tree stump. This story reflects the burning desire within him to help those outside the church find their hope in Christ. It is similar to the open-air evangelical preaching of the Methodist founder John Wesley.
Walter Couvillion “Walt” Worthy, Jr. was born on November 4, 1926, in Jackson, Louisiana. He died on June 10, 2005, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was a faithful servant of Christ whose compassion for those outside of the church led him to serve in many different ministry settings during his life of seventy-eight years.
Walter received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana College in Pineville in 1958 and a Master of Divinity from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1961. As an ordained United Methodist Minister he served churches in Pearl River, Natchitoches, and Tangipahoa. Following his passion to help those battling substance abuse, he became a Louisiana state licensed professional counselor and board certified clinical chaplain. The remainder of his full-time ministry was completed in extension ministry service as a Protestant Chaplain for the East Louisiana State Hospital in Jackson. After twenty-four years of faithful service as a hospital chaplain, he retired. While retired he always made time to facilitate AA meetings in the local church.
Walter was very personable and loved conversations about spirituality. He felt a special call to come alongside persons with substance abuse problems. He loved to help people reflect on their family of origin and learn the lessons that were there to learn. He was not afraid to be confrontational when it was necessary.
Walter’s life is representative of struggle, sacrifice, and faithful service to God and to country. After his father died when he was seventeen Walter enlisted in the U. S. Navy serving in the South Pacific during the later stages of World War II. The money he received was sent home to help support his mother and siblings back at home. Following the war he joined the Army and attended Officer Candidates School, serving his country in the Korean War where he saw intense action and received the Bronze Star for acts of heroism in battle. His life was blessed by an Army chaplain who represented to him the church in a distant land. This chaplain’s influence began to help Walter hear God’s call into full-time Christian service.
During his life he contracted spinal meningitis and survived a short-term coma. His personal library was destroyed by fire when his office burned at the State Hospital. Reflecting on these difficulties, Walter would speak of the goodness of God who always provided the strength that he needed to face life’s challenges. He was very appreciative of his wife of fifty years, Pat, and his children, Karin and Julia and Mark for their love and support through his years of ministry.
His memorial service was held on June 13, 2005, at the Jefferson United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge. Many friends gathered with the family to support his many years of ministry and faithfulness.
Source: Louisiana Conference Journal, 2006; p. 259
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