Donald R. Worley

November 17, 1938 – February 7, 2019

San Diego Lawyer, actor, singer, teacher, preacherDon Worley passed away at home on February 7th after a long battle with prostate cancer. Don was raised in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan. His father, John Kyle Worley, was a lawyer in Detroit, specializing in pharmaceutical companies, and his mother, Virginia (Fox) Worley, was a teacher and homemaker.Don graduated from Yale and attended University of Michigan graduate school in psychology. He came to San Diego in 1962 as a Naval officer. He served on the aircraft carrier USS Bon Homme Richard and at the 11th Naval District Headquarters in downtown San Diego. He left the Navy with the rank of Lieutenant.Working full-time during the day at General Dynamics/Electronics as a government contracts administrator, Don attended USD School of Law at night, graduating magna cum laude. During his last law school year, he clerked at Seltzer Caplan Wilkins and McMahon, became an associate after passing the bar exam, and was named partner 22 months later. He specialized in zoning, planning and land use regulation, and related litigation. Don later became a partner in McDonald Riddle Hecht and Worley. In 1982, he took a leave of absence to earn a Master of Laws in transnational business and taxation from UOP/McGeorge School of Law. He studied in Salzburg, Austria, and interned in the legal department of a shipping company in Copenhagen, Denmark, before finishing course work in Sacramento. After his return, he became a partner in Worley Schwartz Garfield and Rice, and successor firms.During the last ten years of his private practice, Don appeared in plays and musicals in community theaters around the county. He also performed for four years with a Flamenco dance group. Don then retired from law in 2005 to pursue acting in film, TV, and commercials. His favorite roles were: Gen. George Patton in a Discovery Channel movie on the Battle of the Bulge; a judge in the Veronica Mars TV series; and Gen. John Vessey, President Reagan’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, in a video which still shows at the Reagan Presidential Library. Fulfilling an ambition to film on location overseas, Don flew to Belize for three weeks to act the part of a missionary in The Enemy God.He returned to law in 2009, joining the office of Jan Goldsmith, City Attorney. He rose to Assistant City Attorney and headed the civil litigation division. He retired again in 2015.Along the way, Don was an Adjunct Professor of Constitutional Law at several local law schools, served as President of the Mainly Mozart Festival, on the board of the Arthritis Foundation, and as Vice Chairman of the County’s International Trade Commission.In recent years, Don focused his outside activities on Westminster Presbyterian Church. He was a Deacon and Elder, was frequently asked to take the pulpit when the pastor was traveling, and taught a course in historical and critical study of the Bible.Blessed with a beautiful tenor voice, Don was a member of the Westminster chancel choir and a regular soloist during Sunday services, and in weddings, funerals, and memorial services at Westminster and elsewhere. Don is survived by his beloved wife of 45 years, Tricia Craven Worley, a professional interior designer and daughter of the late Mimi and Senator William A. Craven, and by a sister Jeanne Payeur and a niece and nephew in Pennsylvania.A celebration of life will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Point Loma on Saturday, March 9, at 1pm. In lieu of flowers, contributions to Westminster would be appreciated.

Published in the San Diego Union Tribune