Age 84, Harrisonburg, Va.
Richard Lee Worden, 84, of Harrisonburg, formerly of Luray, passed away Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, where he received kind and compassionate care. He was born on June 13, 1936, and was the son of the late Russell and Eva Amos Worden.
Richard was born and raised in the mountains of Appalachia in Pikeville, Ky. and graduated as valedictorian from Pikeville Academy. He later attended Pikeville College and the University of Louisville before being called into the ministry and graduating from Kentucky Wesleyan College. In 1983, he received an honorary Doctor of Ministry degree from Emory & Henry College.
On Aug. 24, 1957, he married the former Elizabeth Reeves Gamble of Louisville, Ky. They relocated to Atlanta where Richard graduated with a Master’s Degree from Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Richard began his career with the United Methodist Conference and served 41 years in Virginia. Rev. Worden led four congregations, which began with the founding of St. Stephen’s (Fairfax County), and subsequently the churches of South Roanoke, Reveille (Richmond) and Annandale. He served as District Superintendent of the Alexandria and Roanoke Districts.
Upon retirement from the Virginia United Methodist Conference, Richard retired to Luray where he continued to develop his “informal ministry,” exemplifying the gifts of gratitude, generosity and good humor. He delighted in sharing his many varied interests which included travel, philosophy, trains, toy collecting, classical music, circuses, travel trailers, donuts and ice cream. His expansive toy collection is now housed at Luray Caverns in the Toy Town Junction. While retired, Richard visited the Mediterranean, the Baltic, Antarctic and Artic regions, and he and Elizabeth generously hosted many family cruises to Europe and the Caribbean.
Richard was preceded in death by his beloved wife on Dec. 7, 2016, after 59 years of marriage. He and Elizabeth were blessed with a vibrant family life and affirmed the joy of “living in grace.”
Surviving are three daughters, Beth Mallalieu and husband, Mark, of Luray, Becky Echard and husband, Mark, of Rockingham, and Amy Slaubaugh and husband, Todd, of Dayton; eight grandchildren, Richard Mallalieu and wife, Alexis, Benjamin Mallalieu and wife, Whitney, Hannah Mallalieu Rogers and husband, Andrew, Thomas Mallalieu and fiancée, Emma Landon, Emily Echard Sheppard and husband, Chris, Allison Echard Terrell and husband, Josh, Andrew Echard, and Mason Craun, and five great-grandchildren, Peyton Mallalieu, Charlie Rogers, Evelyn Sheppard, Luke Mallalieu, and Teddy Rogers.
In addition to his parents, six older siblings and wife, he was preceded in death by a great-grandson, Conner Mallalieu.
“Well done, good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:21.
Due to COVID concerns, a memorial service will be conducted at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be made to University of Pikeville, Advancement Office, 147 Sycamore Street, Pikeville, KY 41501 or the Luray Train Depot and Visitors Center, 18 Campbell Street, Luray, VA 22835.
Condolences may be shared at kygers.com.