Jean Gwaltney Worley, 96, a long time resident of Dry Fork Road in Hampshire, died Sunday, October 29, 2023 at The Fountains of Franklin after a brief illness. Funeral services for Mrs. Worley will be conducted Saturday, Nov. 4, at 11:00 a.m. at West 7th Street Church of Christ with Randy Owens officiating. Burial will follow in the Worley Cemetery. The family will visit with friends Friday from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at Oakes & Nichols, and on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. prior to the service at West 7th Street Church of Christ. Condolences may be extended online at www.oakesandnichols.com.
Jean was born on May 30, 1927, in Carthage, Tennessee, to the late William Gwaltney and the late Sallie Myers Gwaltney. The Gwaltneys lived on a farm beside the Caney Fork River, and Jean and her two sisters grew up helping with farm chores. She was in high school during World War II when the army conducted maneuvers on part of the farm along the river, and one of her most vivid memories of that time was the family hosting soldiers for meals and visits on the front porch of the house. The summer between her junior and senior years of high school she worked for the Gwaltneys’ neighbor, U.S. Congressman (later Senator) Albert Gore, Sr., on his 1944 re-election campaign.
Jean graduated from Smith County High School in 1945 as the Valedictorian of her class, then attended Tennessee Polytechnic Institute (now Tennessee Tech) in Cookeville. While at Tech she played in the marching band, and later became a majorette. She also took advantage of a post-WWII flight instruction program, logging several flight hours while earning credit for aviation classes. After two years at Tech she transferred to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where she pursued a minor in chemistry and a major in Home Economics while participating in UT’s cooperative education program, working for TVA.
Not long before her graduation from UT in June of 1950, Jean met Sam Worley, whom she married on June 2, 1951. After Sam graduated in December of that year, they returned to the Worley farm in Hampshire. Jean worked at the TVA phosphate plant in Columbia until her children were born, after which she devoted all her time to her family and helping Sam on the farm.
Jean was active in the Hampshire PTA and later in parent groups at Columbia Academy. She served for many years with the Maury County Farm Bureau Women, hosting several “Farm-City Days” and “Ag in the Classroom” events at the farm. She was a faithful member of Cathey’s Creek Church of Christ and later West 7th Church of Christ in Columbia. Her faith was very important to her throughout her life, and she took care to instill this faith in her children as she exemplified kindness, generosity, hospitality, and acts of service to others.
Sam and Jean always had a big garden and enjoyed sharing its bounty with friends and neighbors, especially peaches and sweet corn. Sam also grew many varieties of roses, and for many years Jean would cut and arrange these roses into beautiful bouquets for the Cathey’s Creek church. They loved being part of the Dry Fork/Cathey’s Creek community and treasured spending time with friends from all over Maury County. Some of Jean’s favorite hobbies included sewing, playing bridge, traveling, and jigsaw puzzles. She especially enjoyed hosting holidays and family gatherings on the farm.
Sam and Jean were married for 70 years and were able to spend all but the last few months of that time together on the farm before moving to The Fountains of Franklin at the beginning of 2021. Sam passed away in June of 2021, but Jean maintained a positive attitude and quickly made friends at the Fountains, enjoying social activities and remaining active until her sudden illness in September.
Jean is survived by her children, Jan Worley (Blair) Maust and Beth Worley (Roman) Kickirillo; daughters-in-law Ginger Jackson and Karen Worley; grandchildren, Demetria Worley, Frances Worley, Andrew Worley, Josh (Anne) Maust, Becky (Jonathan) West, Brent (Jessica) Worley, Katherine Worley, Stephanie Worley, Michael Kickirillo and David Kickirillo; as well as seven great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Samuel Alonzo Worley and her sons, Stephen Gwaltney Worley and Eugene Neil Worley.
Pallbearers will be Blair Maust, Roman Kickirillo, Josh Maust, Brent Worley, Andrew Worley, Demetria Worley, Frances Worley, and Brian Smart. The family suggests memorials be made to West 7th Street Church of Christ, Cathey’s Creek Church of Christ, or a charity of your choice. The family would like to extend special thanks to the administration and staff of The Fountains of Franklin and Accent Care Hospice.