John ‘Jack’ Truman Worden

Jack passed on Dec. 27, 2017 at 10 p.m. peacefully and without pain after his sixth bout since Dec. 11, 2013 of UTI, with his son John Tim at his side. His miracle antibiotic, Cipro, that pulled him out of the first five episodes, couldn’t quite do the trick this time.

Jack was born in Shandon near San Luis Obispo and grew up in the Atascadero area graduating from Atascadero High School in 1938, where he met his future wife, Donna Mitchell. He was known as ‘Whitey’ while playing school basketball because of the color of his hair.

He was a true country boy growing up with a pet cow with a bent horn named Krumble that provided daily fresh milk. Krumble was born the same year as Jack and lived a long 18 years.

Jack's mom, the former Minnie Ethyl McCandless, was the sole teacher in a single room school in Santa Margherita and simultaneously taught grades 1 thru 5 during Jack’s formative years. She may have been the first female graduate of San Jose Normal, which later became San Jose State University. Minnie has been credited with mentoring and fostering the baseball career of former World Series winning Baltimore Oriole pitcher Chuck Estrada, a legend of SLO lore.

Jack's father, Guy Truman Worden, farmer and Standard Oil management, was on the 1907 Cal Poly baseball team and died in 1927 from a burst appendix when Jack was only six. His grandfather, Solomon Truman Worden, died the year before at the age of 82. Solomon was the first settler of Shandon and built the first house there which later became the Shandon Hotel and 30 years later was used as the first high school in the district. He also owned and farmed 80 acres according to his Jan. 20, 1927 obituary. Both Minnie and Guy, Jack’s mother and father, were born in San Luis Obispo.

Donna’s father, Donald Mitchell Sr. owned Mitchell Mountain (a train tunnel goes through it on Cuesta Grade). So both families were large landowners in the area in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.

Jack joined the Marines in 1941 achieving the level of Captain and was a pilot of cargo and paratrooper transport airplanes in the Pacific theater during WWII.  Jack didn't know his birth name was John until he joined the service and needed his birth certificate to enlist. He became a Major in the Marine Reserves in 1946 through 1953.


Jack graduated from Cal Berkley and then augmented his education following his military service with classes at Golden Gate college, a renowned school for tax and accounting. Out of school he started his career with a three year stint with the IRS. That was the favored career path method at the time.

He then joined a large regional CPA firm in San Jose, Logan & Frazier, where he rose to the level of manager. When that firm was going to merge with the national firm Arthur Young, Jack and another CPA formed the partnership of Ferguson & Worden that was located in the old NCR building at 1671 the Alameda. After a few years Jack started his own sole proprietorship that eventually became Worden & Worden in 1977, two years after his youngest of three sons, John Tim joined the firm.

Jack continued to prepare taxes and keep the company books, (including computerized payroll) until he retired on his 93rd birthday Dec. 11, 2013. He could still complete the NY Times crossword puzzle with little difficulty at the time of his retirement.

Jack's hobbies include hunting, golfing (he was a long term member of Saratoga Country Club) and gardening. His garden still includes many fruit trees including orange, lime, lemon, fig, peach, avocado, cherry, plum and some grafted combination plum and apricot called plucot or aprium. His tomatoes and corn were also annual achievements. He also created a combination of blackberries and boysenberries and everyone called them Worden berries.

Jack's wife of 60+ years, Donna June Mitchell passed in 2007. They were renowned bridge players and ballroom dancers. She was a former Wave. Her mother Hazel ‘Mickey’ Mitchell worked in Sacramento for Governor Ronald Reagan.

Jack was preceded in death by his sons David Mitchell Worden and Michael Guy Worden, as well as his older brother Guy ‘Mac’ McCandless Worden, long time manager of the Santa Maria Inn & sister Margaret C Worden, a school teacher. All four died of one form of cancer or another.

Jack is survived by his son, business partner, golfing buddy & fellow hunter, John Tim Worden, who carries on the accounting practice. His daughter-in-law Laura Ruth Greger Worden, grandson Jason Nathaniel Worden, granddaughter Jaqueline Nicole Worden Davis (husband Brandon Ray Davis), and the pride of the entire family and namesake, great grandson Logan Jack Davis. Also survived by son David’s business and life partner, Gary Barber and Donetta Mitchell, widow of brother-in-law Donald Mitchell, Jr. Also considered family is Susan Walker who started at JTW, CPA while in college & is still the office manager at Worden & Worden to this day, over 50 years later.

His final residence was at the assisted living facility, the Princess Lodge on Hacienda in Campbell, where he formed many loving relationships, especially with his roommate, minister David Mackley. He was especially fond of the female caregivers and other staff including Rica, Summer, Mangesh, Cecilia, Jendy, Irene and Janette. Bud Schmidt, another resident, honored him on his passing with a poem titled an Officer and a Gentleman which will be on display at his celebration of life.


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