John Worcester died in May 2015 in San Diego of a cerebral hemorrhage.
John served as Assistant Dean of Men at Carleton after graduation, and then married Nancy Garrett before serving in Naval Intelligence during the war. His service was short but distinguished, and he returned home to a baby girl born while he was away. John suffered from PTSD, unacknowledged in that era, with symptoms that continued to haunt him throughout his life. He had deep misgivings about the war, was bitter about his experiences, but also resolute that he had done the right thing in answering his country’s call to service.
In the aftermath of war John continued to pursue his interests in media, running a radio station, promoting big rock concerts, and starting a film school for children. He eventually bought a country club with a partner. There he was able to continue his love affair with golf. That endeavor brought him to his second wife with whom he had a son.
The 1980s were a happy time, raising his son and children from his wife’s previous marriage. John worked with classmate Susan Golding as her chief of staff when she was County Supervisor and also as a vice president of marketing with the San Diego Padres. This, he often said, had been his dream job, baseball being a passion that consumed him from cradle to grave. All good things come to an end eventually, and John and his wife then tried their hand at their own restaurant, gaining valuable experience John used to consult for other small business owners. Later, John managed large food and beverage operations, such as San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium (now Qualcomm) and Viejas Casino.
John had a third marriage that was short and happy. Towards the end of his life, he rekindled a flame with his high school sweetheart, someone for whom he had been carrying a torch for decades. They married shortly before he died. She cared for him diligently during the last months of his life. He is survived by her, his daughter and son, a grandson, a brother and a sister.
John is remembered fondly by neighbors who appreciated the pride and care he took in caring for his home and maintaining the neighborhood, former coworkers who recall his silver tongue and quick wit, fellow members of his model airplane club who knew him as a skilled mechanic and popular leader, and his faithful dog whom he once confessed to his daughter he loved best and most true of all.
John often mentioned his time at Carleton with great fondness and noted the education he received there served him well throughout his life.
from John and Nancy’s daughter, Hadley
I spoke with John in February of 2015 and he indicated that he was going to come to our reunion. Such a tragedy! A couple of remembrances of John: During our Freshman year, we tried to set the collegiate record for longest basketball game. He and I were among a small group that failed after about 10 hours or so. And, in Freshman English, Poetry from Chaucer to Milton, I didn’t understand a word I read and he could recite passages from memory.
Clay Russell ’66
Even as late as at our 25th reunion, I remember John as the “All American” guy in our class. Football and baseball star, film maker, and all around Mr. Cool.
Eric Carlson ’66
“John had a ton of health challenges over the years beginning with a stroke at 37. They sort of piled up and in the last year, he started blacking out, falling, hitting his head, it got really bad a few months ago and he had surgery, was diagnosed with dementia, kept falling and died from a brain bleed. The saddest part is that he reconnected with his high school girlfriend about 18 months ago and they were married in January.”
From Brenda Ringwald (’67):