Former Perry Mayor Jim Worrall was remembered in a Tuesday afternoon ceremony at Perry United Methodist Church. Worrall, 81, died Saturday, just four months after completing a more than two-decade tenure as mayor.
“How do you say goodbye to the man who said, ‘Hello, welcome to Perry?’ ” asked the Rev. Jenny Jackson-Adams during her eulogy of Worrall.
Several hundred friends, family members, public officials and citizens turned out for the ceremony, filling every available seat in the church. A private ceremony was held later at Evergreen Cemetery.
Worrall’s love for his family and his town were common themes during the hourlong ceremony.
He met his future wife, Frances, while both were attending the University of Georgia.
She told him from the outset that she was never going to leave Georgia. Jim Worrall, who was born in Baltimore and grew up in Atlanta, didn’t object. They were to celebrate their 60th year of marriage later this year.
“No matter what they were doing, they always had fun,” Jackson-Adams said of the Worralls.
Jim and Frances Worrall had a daughter, Fran.
“They were his queen and his princess,” said the Rev. Jim McLendon, who also spoke during the ceremony.
True to his legacy, Worrall’s memorial ceremony was a community affair. Members of the Perry Kiwanis Club, a local Sunday School class and the Perry City Council served as pallbearers.
Worrall was elected mayor in 1988 after a career in education. In his two decades as Perry’s top executive, the town’s population doubled. Worrall came to be known as Perry’s ambassador.
“That was Jim’s nickname for Perry, ‘Perry-dise,’ ’’ recalled his longtime friend Judy Free, who was his secretary when Worrall was an educator in the 1970s.
Worrall continued his interest in education after being elected. He was even known to personally tutor students in Perry during his term as mayor. Among his achievements as mayor was the creation of the town’s community center in Rozar Park, which was renamed the Worrall Community Center earlier this year.
Worrall announced his retirement last year. He told friends that it had nothing to do with his health.
“He said he had completed his task,” said Riley Hunt, a member of the Perry City Council.
To contact writer Thomas L. Day, call 744-4489.