The Flanders community is reeling from the loss of a local couple in a tragic accident last Friday — and the death the following day of the father of the man killed in the crash.
George Worthington Jr. and his wife Mary died after the motorcycle they were riding went off the the road last Friday evening in Gilford, New Hampshire.
Worthington, 61, died of his injuries Friday night. His wife, 63, was critically injured and airlifted to Dartmouth–Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, where succumbed early Saturday morning, said Susan Tocci, Worthington’s friend since childhood and fellow emergency service volunteer with Flanders-Northampton Volunteer Ambulance.
Tocci said Worthington’s bike is believed to have had a mechanical problem. She drove to New Hampshire with other members of FNVA Friday night and examined the scene of the crash the next morning.
The couple’s son Joey, as well as Tocci’s brother Scott and his wife, were riding with the Worthingtons the evening of Aug. 28. The Worthingtons’ bike was the last of the three m. At some point, the other riders realized the Worthingtons were not behind them and they turned around to look for them, coming upon the crash scene.
Worthington’s father, George Worthington Sr., 80, died in his sleep overnight Saturday, Tocci said.
“I think he died of a broken heart,” she said.
Tocci said her father and George Sr. were lifelong friends.
“Everybody is devastated by this,” she said. “We are all so shook up.”
A Suffolk County EMS crisis unit came out to assist the Flanders-Northampton Ambulance members, Tocci said. “They did a fabulous job.”
Worthington was a member of Flanders-Northampton Volunteer Ambulance for about 30 years and was an ex-chief of the organization. He also worked for FNVA as a houseman and first responder.
“He saved so many lives,” Tocci said. “George was there for everyone. He was the kind of guy who was always in control. He treated everyone with respect and everyone respected him.”
While Worthington was outgoing and “a force to be reckoned with,” his wife was the quiet one, always supporting him in everything he did, said her friend and coworker for more than two decades, Karen Pace.
“I never saw somebody so in love with their husband,” she said.
“Every year, she took vacation the week of their anniversary. I used to tease her that the world didn’t stop because it was their anniversary…They were so close.”
Pace worked with Mary Worthington at Eastern Suffolk Cardiology, where Mary worked for 25 years and where Pace is the practice administrator.
The medical practice was dealt a double blow this week because Worthington Sr. was also a longtime employee.
“He was actually Eastern Suffolk Cardiology’s first employee,” Pace said. “He’s been friends with Dr. Esau for 30-plus years,” she said. “He opened up the office every morning and was our courier, among other things. A lot of our employees are shell-shocked.”
The Paces, Worthingtons, Toccis and Hintzes formed a tight circle of friends, really part of a Flanders extended family, Pace said.
“We enjoyed camping together,” she said, reflecting on good times.
“Mary loved riding on the back of George’s motorcycle, too,” Pace said.
Their great joy in life was their two young grandchildren, Grayson, 4 and Hayden, 2. Their son Joey and his wife Kristal live in Massachusetts and “Mary was counting down the days to her retirement” when they planned to move to be close to the grandchildren, Pace said.
A memorial Mass for George J. Worthington Sr. will be held at St. Isidore’s R.C. Church in Riverhead on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 9:30 a.m.
A memorial service for George J. Worthington Jr. and Mary F. Worthington will be held on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. at Flanders Northampton Volunteer Ambulance, 641 Flanders Road, Flanders. A reception will follow.
Interment will take place on Sunday Oc.t 4 at 11 a.m. at Flanders Cemetery.
We need your help.
Now more than ever, the survival of quality local journalism depends on your support. Our community faces unprecedented economic disruption, and the future of many small businesses are under threat, including our own. It takes time and resources to provide this service. We are a small family-owned operation, and we will do everything in our power to keep it going. But today more than ever before, we will depend on your support to continue. Support RiverheadLOCAL today. You rely on us to stay informed and we depend on you to make our work possible.