Jim Worrall, whose 21-year stint as mayor of Perry ended in December, died Saturday at a Macon hospital. He was 81.
Frances Worrall, his wife, said he died of complications from cancer.
She said her husband’s health did not factor in his decision not to seek another term as mayor.
“He was doing fairly well then,” she said.
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In January, Jim Worrall told The Telegraph that he left office because he had accomplished everything he set out to do as mayor, including building the Perry Parkway, establishing a community center and revitalizing the old Perry High School building.
Frances Worrall said her husband spent the month of March undergoing radiation therapy at an Emory University treatment center in Atlanta.
Jim Worrall died at The Medical Center of Central Georgia after a week’s stay.
Worrall was born in Baltimore and grew up in Atlanta. He worked as a teacher and principal for the Houston County school system and as headmaster of The Westfield School in Perry, Beechwood Academy in Marshallville and Savannah Christian Preparatory School. He ran for mayor in the 1988 election after retiring from education. Worrall came in second in a four-person race and defeated a longtime city council member in a runoff.
One of Worrall’s first priorities as mayor was to develop a good relationship with state officials.
“I became an ambassador for the city,” he said in January as he looked back on his years as mayor. “I was told early on you need to learn who’s in the General Assembly. You need to go up there and see them enough so that they call you by your first name.”
During Worrall’s years as mayor, Perry’s population doubled to about 14,000 people.
Frances Worrall said her husband “was just such a Christian and such a gentleman.”
“He was so outgoing and he could do so many things,” she said. “He liked everybody, it wasn’t just certain types of people.”
Jimmy Faircloth, who succeeded Worrall as mayor, called him “the best ambassador that Perry ever had.”
“He did a fantastic job representing the city wherever he went,” Faircloth said.
Megan Smith, president and CEO of the Perry Chamber of Commerce, said she often referred to Worrall as “the best mayor around.”
“He was very active in the chamber,” she said. “He attended our ribbon cuttings. He could always be counted on to do the invocation or say a few words. ... He did a wonderful job representing the city.”
Funeral services for Worrall are scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday at Perry United Methodist Church.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this story. Telegraph writer Ryan Gilchrest contributed to this story.