Charles "Chuck" V. Worley died May 26, 2016, in Delta. He was 98.
He was known by many in western Colorado as an advocate for environmental causes, for peace and for action against economic and social injustice. He stood up for his beliefs and was willing to explain them to anyone who was interested.
Mr. Worley was born Feb. 2, 1918, to Glen and Emma Worley. He grew up in and around Omaha, Neb., and graduated from Omaha Technical High School. He studied sociology at Municipal University of Omaha (now University of Nebraska, Omaha) until he was drafted into the military during World War II.
Mr. Worley became committed to a pacifist understanding of Christianity and was granted status as a conscientious objector. He performed alternative service working on soil conservation in Arkansas and fighting wildfires in California, but ultimately rejected the assignment on the basis that it supported the war effort and went against his pacifist beliefs. This led to prison terms for noncompliance with mandatory conscription.
After the war, Mr. Worley and his wife Betty lived in several states where he tried his hand at several occupations. The family moved to the Cedaredge area where he established a plumbing and heating business with longtime business partner Fred Smith.
Mr. Worley remained a pacifist throughout his life and promoted his point of view within his church and frequently in letters to the editor of local newspapers. He and his son Hank once walked from Cedaredge to Delta and back, carrying signs of protest against the Vietnam War.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Mr. Worley was among a small number of protestors against the underground atomic bomb tests near the town of Rulison and later in Rio Blanco County.
These experiences led him to understand the value of organizing people with shared beliefs and goals rather than being a single voice of protest. In 1976 he co-founded the Western Slope Energy Resource Center (WSERC), later renamed Western Slope Environmental Resource Center, as a counterbalance to the rapid coal development in the North Fork Valley. He co-founded Western Colorado Congress in 1980. He served several years as president of WCC and as its representative to the multi-state Western Organization of Resource Councils. A WCC annual leadership award was named in honor of Chuck and Betty Worley.
After the WCC and other consumer advocacy groups secured the creation of the Office of Consumer Counsel in 1984, he was appointed by attorney general Duane Woodard to its Utility Consumer Advocates Board and served a term as its chairman.
Mr. Worley enjoyed writing poetry and was a member of the Writers Group in Cedaredge. His letters from prison to his wife during the tail end of World War II, and a selection of his poems, were published in a book, "Out of Bounds."
He was an active member of Cedaredge United Methodist Church where he sang in the choir for many years. He often whistled while he worked and was known to some local residents as "the singing plumber."
He is survived by a sister, Mary Ellen Campbell of Sandpoint, Idaho; his sons, Ross, Hank (Sharry) and Tim (Anne); his daughters, Susan Worley and Faith (John) Heckman; 11 grandchildren; and several great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Betty in 2011; and a daughter, Dawn Worley.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 25, at Cedared Community United Methodist Church.
Memorial contributions may be sent to Western Colorado Congress or Cedaredge Community United Methodist Church.
Taylor Funeral Service is handling the arrangements.
View the Internet obituary and sign the online guest registry at taylorfuneralservice.com.