Saturday, April 22, 2006

Thomas Eugene Worrell

The Bristol paper, formerly part of the Worrell chain, published this obituary for Thomas Eugene Worrell, and it says in part:

"He attended Wake Forest College on a debating scholarship where he distinguished himself as a champion orator. Graduating cum laude in 1940, he attended Wake Forest School of Law and earned his degree from George Washington School of Law. He met his wife and lifelong companion, Anne Everette Rowell, in Bristol, where she attended Virginia Intermont College.
He worked as a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation during World War II and later practiced law in his hometown of Bristol. His community involvement led to his selection as "Young Man of the Year" and as Chamber of Commerce president he was influential in bringing several industries to the area after the war.
In 1949, he began a career as a newspaperman and, with his wife, founded The Virginia Tennessean newspaper in Bristol. This marked the beginning of Worrell Newspapers Inc., which became one of the largest chains of small dailies in the country. His purchase of The Daily Progress in 1970 prompted he and his wife to move to Charlottesville, where he lived until his death.
Upon moving to Charlottesville, he acquired "Pantops" farm for the corporate offices of Worrell Newspapers. He subsequently purchased adjacent properties and developed Peter Jefferson Place, one of the premiere office parks in the area, providing an outstanding working environment for many local and national businesses. Peter Jefferson Place will be the future home of Martha Jefferson Hospital.
In 1978, he transferred ownership of Worrell Newspapers to his son, Thomas E. Worrell Jr., and established Worrell Investment Company, where he has continued to serve as president. Worrell Investment Company's office is home to The Worrell Collection, an outstanding collection of wildlife art. The only collection of its magnitude in the country, it includes sculpture, paintings and antique Chinese jade. In 1979, he also founded Worrell Land and Cattle Company, premiere breeders of Limousin cattle.
His commitment to supporting pioneering initiatives at Wake Forest University spanned 30 years, beginning with the purchase of a house in London to be used as a residential study center. The Worrell House has been home to hundreds of faculty and students while they lived and studied in London. He had endowed several professorships and established the Robert Goldberg Award in Trial Advocacy. In 1993, he made a gift to the university to create the Worrell Professional Center for Law and Management. This was the first academic building in the country to house law and graduate management schools under one roof, sharing programs, faculty and students. In 1979, he received an honorary doctor of humanities degree and, in 2006 was awarded the Medallion of Merit Award. This award is Wake Forest's highest honor and is presented for outstanding achievement and distinguished contribution to the university."

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