Byron M. Wortham
July 25, 1926
March 13, 2019
Byron Wortham of Odessa, Texas passed away on March 13, 2019 at the age of 92 in his home in Odessa surrounded by his loving family. Byron was born on July 25, 1926 in Rotan, Texas. He was the second son of Roger M. Wortham & Beatrice Cooper Wortham. He is preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, R.Q. and Kenneth Wayne Wortham and sister, Maxine Elizabeth Mann along with his wife, Vanna Lou Crow Wortham and grandson Byron Monahan.
He joined the First Baptist Church of Rotan, Texas where he was a Royal Ambassador and baptized at the age of 12. He was a member of the Boy Scouts and became an Eagle Scout, with a Bronze Palm and was also a member of the Order of the Arrow and Order of Select Campers.
He graduated from Rotan High School in 1943 at the age of 16. He participated in football, basketball and tennis. During school, he worked many occupations such as: lifeguard, usher at the picture show, volunteer fireman, lumberyard hand and for the U.S. Air Force in a laboratory in Roswell, New Mexico.
At the age of 17, Byron joined the Navy during World War ll and was discharged before he was 20. All but 4 months were spent overseas during the war. He was a Coxswain on USS Bingham (APA-225) driving LCVP's landing troops and supplies onto the beaches. He was also the Bowhook on the Captain's Gig.
After the war, he attended and graduated from John Tarleton Agricultural College where he later met his wife and married Vanna Lou Crow on September 14, 1949. He then transferred to The University of Texas and received his degree in Business Administration. After graduation, they moved back to Odessa where Byron made enough money, pipelining in the summer, to buy their first car. They both spent the rest of their lives making Odessa a better place to live. They spent 66 Happy Years together before she passed away October 18, 2015.
Byron was a great man who strived to make the world a better place for future generations. He joined the Jaycee's in 1956 and enjoyed being a part of the operations that improved the City of Odessa. He was fond of organizing events, making budget intervals, planning and executing the plans for the city. In 1959 he was elected President of the Jaycee's which automatically earned him a spot on the Chamber of Commerce board as well as the Boys & Girls Club of Odessa.
Byron spent 20 years on the Sandhills Quarter Horse & Live Stock Show board as well as 20 years on the Odessa Chuck Wagon executive board. On one occasion he helped serve over 10,400 Jaycee's in Atlanta, Georgia while on a Chuck Wagon feed. Byron and the rest of the Jaycee Board were instrumental in bringing the YMCA to Odessa, Texas. He convinced his partners Jim Key & J. L. (Dusty) Rhodes to donate the land for the current YMCA building. They provided office space for the YMCA staff prior to construction so that they could get a program operational for the youth of Odessa. Byron later served as the chairman of the Finance Committee and a Director on the YMCA Board. Byron owned and operated Key, Stegner and Wortham Insurance Company that served the West Texas area for many years. At that time it was the largest independent insurance agency between Dallas and El Paso.
To go along with his civic involvement, he served 10 years on the Hospital Board at Medical Center and was instrumental in bringing the Cath Lab to the hospital. He also played a key role in adding the Nursing School Programs to Odessa College for the betterment of medical services in Odessa and West Texas. Byron served on the Board of Director of the Permian Basin Oil Show for many years. As busy as he was, he also served 3 judges in Ector County for Grand Jury duty.
Byron was a devoted husband, loving father, grandfather and great grandfather as well as a mentor for the next generation. He is survived by Jamie and Vance Gillam, Richard and Pam Wortham, Mike and Jana Wortham, Leslie Woodfin, Lindsey and Heath Hines, Erin and Nicole Wortham, Dalton Woodfin, Casey and Allison Woodfin, and great grandchildren Aubree Monahan, Hayden, Cooper, and Hallie Hines along with many nieces and nephews.
Visitation is from 6:00-8:00 PM, Sunday, March 17, 2019 at Sunset Memorial Funeral Home.
Funeral Services will be at 1:00 PM, Monday, March 18, 2019 at Belmont Baptist Church in Odessa, TX. Burial will follow at Sunset Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Children's Ministries at Belmont Baptist Church.
Special thanks to Doctor Raja Naidu, MD and the staff at Home Hospice Odessa for their support throughout the years.