Cover photo for Curtis Dean Worden's Obituary
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1936 Curtis 2022

Curtis Dean Worden

April 22, 1936 — September 2, 2022

Curtis Dean Worden passed away peacefully on September 2, 2022 of natural causes. He was born in Racine, Wisconsin to Fred and Pearl Worden. Pearl, a homemaker, raised Curt, his older brother Donald and younger sister Stephanie (Worden) Meyer. Fred managed a bus company in both Racine and Des Moines, IA before acquiring a bus company in Little Rock, Arkansas. Curt developed his enduring, strong moral compass from his father, who was one of the first southern bus company owners who refused to enforce segregation on his buses.

Curt graduated from Horlick High School in Racine, Wisconsin in 1955. He received his bachelor’s degree and JD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, completing his studies in 1961. Subsequently, he moved to Rockford to begin what was a 54-year career practicing law beginning with the firm of Guyer and Enichen followed by Welsh, Holmstrom, Hyzer & Jacobson. From there he practiced on his own until he joined the former Oliver, Close, Worden & Greenwald law firm, culminating his practice with Howard, Hardyman & Worden.

In his personal life, he is predeceased by his loving wife, Barbara, with whom he shared his passion for tennis, golf, bridge, travel and the uncanny ability to create a costume at the drop of a hat. He was an avid athlete known to spend most of his lunch hours running the bike path or working out at the YMCA where he served as a valued board member for many years. He enjoyed a lifetime of Wednesday night tennis groups, who frequently resolved their post-court disputes at the RCC bar until forgotten. His passion for golf extended beyond the course to the Western Golf Association, where he served as Director for many years.

Much of his life was spent helping the community and the people that call Rockford home by serving on a number of boards including the YMCA (President), Rockford Health System (Chairman), Rockford Airport Authority (Chairman) and Rockford Country Club (President). He played an integral role in these organizations. His advice and counsel were instrumental in guiding them to achieve their missions. In addition, it is worth noting that early in his career he played a key role in the development of Cherryvale Mall. His crowning achievement awarded in 2014 was the Honorary Triumvirate Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Rockford Memorial Development Foundation for his more than two decades of dedicated service to Rockford Health System.

If there were anything more rewarding than his professional achievements, it was his love for his family. “Papa” to five grandchildren, he was very involved in all their lives and achievements. Curt is survived by sons Skip, Jeffrey and Scott (Fatima), stepdaughter Stephanie Ritz and five grandchildren, Kayli Worden, Grayson Worden, Emma Diaz (Jacob), Madeline Derry, Reese Derry, and sister Stephanie Meyer. He is preceded in death by his parents, brother Donald Worden, wife Barbara and stepdaughter Allison Derry.

A memorial service will take place on Friday, October 28, 2022 at 11:30 a.m. at Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory, 1860 S. Mulford Road, Rockford, Illinois. Inurnment to take place at a later date at Scandinavian Cemetery. In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the Rock River Valley YMCA at To send online condolences or share memories, please visit

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