Lt. Col. Robert Dean Worrell


Lt. Col. Robert Dean Worrell of Hope, Indiana passed away peacefully on May 9, 2024. He was the youngest of seven children born to Glen and Gayle (Foutch) Worrell. He was born in Hope, Indiana on May 20,1933 where he spent his early years through the sixth grade, 1946. In elementary school, he was often called Bobby Dean. He moved with his parents and family to Roswell New Mexico and graduated from Roswell high School in 1951. In high school he excelled in basketball and baseball.

During one summer he often talked of riding the fence lines with his horse for one of the ranchers. After high school graduation, he moved with his parents to Boulder Colorado and received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Colorado. While in college and to subsidize his education, he was a graduate teacher instructor of science, joined the ROTC and enrolled in the Air force. After his graduation in 1955, he was stationed in Laredo Texas Air force Base and began flight training. His love for flying never lessened. Robert was stationed in Germany and England during his time of active duty.

When he left active duty, He joined the Tennessee Air National guard. He trained and flew several fighter jets including the T33, F102, and F104, but his favorite was the C135 that refueled jets in flight.

He flew this aircraft, refueling jets until his Air Force and Tennessee Air National Guard retirement in 1993 as a Lt. Col. Bob was a member of the 134th Air Refueling Group, and the 151st Fighter Interceptor Squadron.

Robert married Catherine Cherry in 1979 who preceded him in death in 2018 after 39 years of marriage.

Robert moved to Knoxville Tennessee after his active duty and worked for Lockheed Martin at the Oak

Ridge Nuclear Facility during the week and flying for the Air National Guard on the weekends or whenever he was called up on a mission. He wasn’t allowed to tell us what he did at Oak ridge, just that he was a contract negotiator. Bob was a quiet person and fit well into that position. While in Tennessee, he studied for his Master’s in Business at the University of Tennessee. Bob was an avid tennis player and played well into his 80’s.

With his flying he traveled all over the world, but usually to just stop, refuel and hit the sky again. He often said that he had been everywhere and seen nothing from the ground.

Robert was the youngest of his family, and was preceded in his death by his parents, his wife and brothers, Kenneth, Donavan, Glen Jr., and sisters Mildred McNeeley, Ruth Harker, and Marjorie Simmons. Bob had no children, but left dozens of nieces, nephews, great and great-great nieces and nephews, including his caretakers John and Barbara Harker, Harry and Darlene Harker, Joe and Debbie Harker, Carol NcNeeley, Karen and George Weber and Wendy Christy.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, May 16 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at Berry Highland Memorial, 5315 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919. A graveside service will be at 3 p.m. at Berry Highland Memorial Cemetery, 5315 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919.

Contributions may be made to Our Hospice of Columbus, Indiana, 2626 17th Street Columbus, IN 47201.

Online condolences may be sent to Robert’s family at