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Richard "Dick" Wornat '50 May 3, 2021 1:34 PM updated: May 3, 2021 2:09 PM

Richard Oscar Wornat
February 21, 1926 - March 25, 2021

Richard Oscar Wornat, of Huntsville, Alabama, died on March 25, 2021 at Crestwood Medical Center.

Beloved husband of Lena Josephine Lady Wornat; father of Lady Louise Emrich of Huntsville, AL; Virginia Lynn Pollard of Clarksdale, MS; Richard Oscar Wornat, Jr. of Atlanta, GA; and Dr. Mary Julia Wornat of Baton Rouge, LA; grandfather of nine, and great-grandfather of five.

Mr. Wornat was born on February 21, 1926, the eighth child of Gus Adolf Wornat and Louise Annie Winkler Wornat. They lived on a small farm in a rural community of largely European immigrants near Weimar, Texas. Richard was preceded in death by his parents; by his sisters – Elsie Noack, Agnes Reue, and Alma Hrncir; by his brothers: Charles, Fred, Gus, and George Wornat; and by one grandchild, Ethan Emrich.

As a child, Mr. Wornat walked a mile to Harmony Elementary School, a one-teacher rural school. He and his brother, George, rode a horse to New Bielau High School, and then rode a Model A Ford nine miles to Weimar High School. Following graduation at age 15, he worked in a Weimar drugstore. Later, he worked as a clerk for the Texas Highway Department in Rosenberg, Texas. When he reached the age of 18, with World War II underway, he volunteered for military service and served with the US Air Corps Airways Communication Service at Scott Field, IL, Naknek, AK, and Fort Richardson, AK. He attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. Following his military service, he enrolled at Texas A&M University in September 1946, where he became a Distinguished Student, a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Society, and president of the school’s Lutheran Student Association. He completed his work on a Petroleum Engineering degree in July 1949. He immediately accepted employment with Freeport Sulphur Company at Freeport, TX. There, he met his wife-to-be, Jo Lady, who had begun teaching English at a Freeport high school a year earlier. After two years of courtship, they were married in her hometown of Trumann, Arkansas on July 15, 1951.

Mr. Wornat continued his work with Freeport Sulphur Company at various mines in Texas and Louisiana until 1975. During that time, he rose to managerial positions at several mines and was involved with Freeport’s pioneering work with Frasch sulphur mining practices in marshland and offshore areas. The remaining part of Richard’s career was spent with Freeport Oil and Freeport-McMoran at various sites in Louisiana and Texas. He retired in 1985 but continued to work for the Company as a consultant for several years. He and his wife moved to Pearl River, Louisiana in 1981, where they lived until they moved to a retirement facility in Huntsville, Alabama in 2015.

Although his parents saw that Richard was trained as a Lutheran, he and his wife, who was reared as a Baptist, became Presbyterians after their marriage. Service to Christ and His church was always a top priority in their lives. Soon after joining the Port Sulphur Presbyterian Church, Richard was asked to lead an adult Bible class – a task he enjoyed at every church where he belonged. In 1952, he was elected an Elder in the Port Sulphur church, an office he held in churches in Houma, Thibodaux, New Orleans, Slidell, and Pearl River, LA, and in Midland, TX. He served on numerous Presbytery committees. He was elected Moderator of the then Presbytery of New Orleans in 1970, and twice was elected to serve as a delegate to the Presbyterian Church’s General Assembly. He and his wife were instrumental in the formation of the Northminster Presbyterian Church in Pearl River where he served as an adult Sunday School class teacher and as an elder until 2015.

Visitation will be in the fellowship hall of Faith Presbyterian Church on April 1, 2021 from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM. A funeral service will follow in the sanctuary. Interment, attended by family, will be at the Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville, AL.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations honoring Mr. Wornat be made to Faith Presbyterian Church, 5003 Whitesburg Ave., Huntsville, AL 35802, or to a charity of your choice.

© Laughlin Service Funeral Home & Crematory


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