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Henry Forest ‘Butch’ Worthington

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Henry Forest 'Butch' Worthington
Henry Forest ‘Butch’ Worthington

Henry Forest “Butch” Worthington passed away Good Friday, March 25, 2016, at Pioneer Manor Nursing Home in Gillette, Wyo.

A celebration of life with military honors will be held in Artesia later this summer for Worthington and his wife, Margaret, who preceded him in death.

Henry was conceived in a sheep wagon in Campbell County, Wyo., to Henry Forest and Maxie Mae (Lawson) Worthington, who were homesteaders proving up on land west of Reno Junction. His father joined the Powder River Cavalry in June 1918 to serve his country in World War I and died in France in August of that year. Maxie went back to her family in the Texas Panhandle to give birth.

Henry was born Oct. 25, 1918, in Miami, Texas. He grew up in Clovis. His mother never remarried, raising him alone through the Great Depression. He graduated from Clovis High School in 1937 and began attending the University of New Mexico, majoring in business.

Though he finished his degree in June 1942, he didn’t attend his UNM graduation ceremony, opting instead to enlist in the U.S. Army. A highlight of his life was his UNM class being honored at graduation 50 years later. They were dressed in gold caps and gowns and seated in the front row of The Pit. It was noted that many of them had not attended the graduation ceremony in 1942 due to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and World War II.

Henry was a sergeant in the Signal Corps, Third United States Army Headquarters, under Gen. George S. Patton Jr. He did basic training in Camp Crowder, Mo., and then was stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, before shipping out on the Ile de France to Kuntsford, England. He was responsible for rations and quarters but spent most of his time troubleshooting for the Signal Depot Companies and with the Fourth Armored and Fifth Infantry Divisions. He stayed with the Third Army Headquarters across Europe until after VE Day and the end of World War II.

He met Margaret Elizabeth Compary in Albuquerque while going to school. They married May 13, 1942, and spent the next 67 years together.

Henry went into accounting, briefly with Malco Refineries, for 23 years with Continental Oil until it was sold, and then for 16 years with Navajo Refining Co. until he retired as a payroll supervisor for five companies.

Henry was an Eagle Scout and continued his love of scouting as scoutmaster and on troop committees off and on for 25 years. He coached Little League baseball and was a charter member of the Artesia Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, serving as post commander for three years. He also joined the Wyoming VFW after moving to that state following the death of his wife. He was an avid Lobo alumnus, serving as president of the Carlsbad/Artesia alumni chapter, and was a member of the UNM Centennial Planning Committee. He was awarded the UNM outstanding alumni Zia Award in 1996.

Henry was a member of First United Methodist Church of Artesia. His hobbies included hunting, fishing, and travelling the world with his wife.

Survivors include son Bob Worthington and wife Tammy of Artesia; daughter DeeBee Worthington of Gillette; granddaughters Marli Trusty and husband Kane of Bozeman, Mt., Paula Harshbarger and husband Clark of Longmont, Colo., and Robin DeHoyas and husband Scott of Plano, Texas; and five great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife and his parents.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Pioneer Manor Nursing Home Activities Program or the SPE Crawfish Boil, which donates all proceeds to catastrophic medical needs for Powder River Basin residents.

Arrangements are under the direction of Gillette Memorial Chapel. Memorials and condolences may be mailed to the family in care of Gillette Memorial Chapel, 210 W. Fifth St., Gillette, WY, 82716, or expressed online at www.gillettememorialchapel.com.

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