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University of Missouri

Service Runs Deep

Two MU faculty members use personal experiences to benefit the lives of others.

Charles Worley

Charles Worley, BS Med ’50, is shown above with his hand on the ambulance’s siren outside a military hospital in the Philippines. Photo courtesy of the Worley family.

Seeing photographs from U.S. Air Force Maj. Stephen Barnes’ service in Iraq calls to mind my nephew 2nd Lt. Jake Thompson, BGS ’11, heading to Afghanistan in mid-July 2013. It also reminds me of Charles A. Worley’s service in World War II.

Maxine Worley painting

A Japanese prisoner of war painted this portrait of Maxine Frerking Worley, BA ’48. She married Charles Worley near the end of World War II. Photo courtesy of the Worley family.

Sgt. Worley, BS Med ’50, spared his children and grandchildren gory details from serving in the Philippines. He’d talk about food. The soldiers had grown up during the Depression, and the army grub was the best they had ever eaten. Another classic: When my husband, Bob, was a boy, other dads went on Boy Scout campouts with their sons. Not his dad. Charles had had enough of sleeping in tents.

For Charles, Army service brought his life plans clearly into focus. It allowed him to explore his interest in medicine, and once that interest was ignited, nothing could keep him from pursuing it. As he worked among the injured soldiers, American and Japanese alike, he carried a photo of his sweetheart, Maxine Frerking, BA ’48.

From that image, a prisoner of war painted the portrait shown here, which captures my mother-in-law’s beauty. When the war ended, it meant that Charles and tens of thousands of other veterans could come home and get on with their lives. For Charles, that meant coming home to Maxine and medical school at Mizzou.

Now, some 60 years later, Charles the family doctor is deceased. Maxine has experienced living in TigerPlace and more recently The Neighborhoods, a skilled nursing/rehabilitation center next door. In this issue, you can read about the work of two MU faculty members — surgeon Barnes and nurse Marilyn Rantz — who have brought their full education and experiences to bear to benefit the lives of others, be they victims of trauma or victims of simply growing old.