Carolyn “Lynn” Whitworth, 91, died peacefully on Jan. 2, 2013, in Roseville, Calif., following complications from a fall in her home. Lynn was born Dec. 6, 1921, in Cleveland, Ohio, the daughter of Neil Worthington McGill and Helen Frances Whiting.
Lynn graduated from Lakewood High School in 1939 and received her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Oberlin College in 1943. After graduation, she worked for four years creating window displays for Halle Bros. Department Stores in Cleveland.
In 1947, Lynn married her childhood neighbor, Kernan Bradley “Whit” Whitworth, Jr., in Princeton, N.J. The couple had grown up in the same Cleveland suburb and had attended the same public schools, although she was a year older than him.
After Whit received his master's and doctoral degrees in 18th-century French literature from Princeton University, he taught at Bryn Mawr College near Philadelphia. Lynn worked at the college’s library as the secretary to the director.
The couple moved to Paris for a year so Whit could continue his post-graduate studies at Sorbonne University. When they returned to the States in 1951, he accepted a job at UCLA and Lynn returned to her collegiate library world as secretary to the head of the reference department.
Her two children, Brad and Nancy, were born in Santa Monica, Calif., in 1953 and 1957 respectively. The family moved in 1957 to Columbia, Mo., when Whit accepted a full professorship in the Romance Language department at the University of Missouri.
While raising their two children and teaching Sunday school at the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, she also returned to her favorite work venue: a library. She worked as the secretary to the library director at Stephens College for 18 years until her retirement in 1982.
Lynn spent the next six years caring for Whit following his retirement from the University of Missouri as his health deteriorated with Alzheimer’s disease. Whit died in 1988.
In 2007, Lynn sold her home in Columbia and moved to Roseville to be closer to her children and grandchildren. At her new home, the Sierra Regency retirement facility, Lynn was active in aerobics in the indoor pool; art, movie and play outings; and the weekly brain gymnasium class. Lynn was an avid reader – shaped in part by her lifelong career in libraries.
Lynn is survived by her sister, Miriam Strickler, of Huntington Harbour, Calif.; her son, Brad Whitworth, of Los Altos, Calif.; her daughter, Nancy White, of Roseville, Calif.; and three grandsons: Bradley and Joey Whitworth and Jordan White.
Lynn is now interred next to her husband in Memorial Cemetery in Columbia, Mo., the town she called home for 50 years. The family has asked that any donations be made in Lynn’s memory to Oberlin College & Conservancy Development Office, 50 West Lorain Street, Oberlin, OH 44074.