Robert C. Worley, 87, a theologian and a peacemaker, died on June 30, 2016 in Chicago.
Though he was in practice a Presbyterian, who spent his career teaching at McCormick Theological Seminary, he should be remembered for his ecumenicism — for his respect for and celebration of the diverse ways people engage with one another, with their culture, and with their faith; for his concern with the humanity and dignity of all people in the Middle East, where he worked for decades; and for his lifelong commitment to justice and peace.
Bob began his life as one of four children to Henry and Lillian Worley in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He entered a pre-med program at Oklahoma State University with the intention of becoming a medical or dental missionary, subsequently getting both a Doctor of Dental Surgery and a graduate degree in physiology and pharmacology from Northwestern University.
He then attended McCormick Theological Seminary where he later became a professor of Christian education. In the 1980s, he was instrumental in developing the Center for Organizational Study and the Doctor of Ministry Program at McCormick.
Through his students, he became involved with the Chicago Korean Presbyterian Community and traveled to Korea many times. In 1980, Bob went to Beirut, Lebanon, to teach at the Near East School of Theology. Through the Middle East Council of Churches, he then taught throughout the region, in Egypt, Cyprus, Syria, and Armenia.
He taught at McCormick until 1994 when he retired as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. After his retirement, he maintained various commitments to the Chicago Korean Community, his Middle East friends, to reading groups, and to travel.
Robert Worley is survived by his wife, Irene; his children, Christine, Gretchen, Johanna, Rob and Peter; 10 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Services are private.
In lieu of flowers, the family appreciates memorial donations to The Rev. Dr. Robert Worley Memorial Fund to Support Education for Displaced Syrians, c/o Middle East and Europe Office, Global Ministries at 700 Prospect Ave., Suite 718, Cleveland, Ohio, 44115, https://donate.globalministries.org/onlinegiving or to The Faculty Global Awareness Fund, McCormick Theological Seminary at 5460 S. University Ave. in Chicago, 60615.