Worsham College History

History of Worsham College of Mortuary Science

Worsham History

Worsham History

Worsham History

Worsham History

The development of mortuary science education has followed the general pattern common to all professional fields. As funeral service expanded, research was directed to developing better techniques & practices which resulted in a rapid increase in the knowledge of the science. Today, colleges of mortuary science are highly developed institutions of learning with curricula encompassing the physical and social sciences, liberal arts and the specialized subjects indigenous to the funeral service profession. Funeral service education has advanced tremendously from the days of the itinerant embalmer, who offered a short course in embalming technique as he moved from one community to another.

Worsham College of Mortuary Science was founded by Professor Albert Worsham on March 17, 1911, as the Worsham College of Embalming. Professor Worsham was born in 1868, near Connorsville, Indiana, where he worked and trained at a variety of medical schools and hospitals. In 1902, he made the acquaintance of Dr. Carl Barnes, founder and owner of the Barnes School of Anatomy & Embalming in Chicago.

Professor Worsham soon became intrigued with anatomy and in 1902, enrolled at the Barnes College. Upon graduation, Professor Worsham joined the faculty of the Barnes College where he taught for nine years, before founding one of the oldest colleges of mortuary science in existence today. Until his death on September 25, 1939, Worsham committed himself to selecting as his faculty, well-qualified professionals who, along with Professor Worsham, placed a great emphasis upon practical experience supported by scientific training. After Professor Worsham died, his wife Laura made plans to carry out their wishes to have the college continue in the hands of their faculty. Seven members of the staff, all physicians, purchased the College, and changed its name to Worsham College of Mortuary Science.

For the next 26 years, Worsham College operated under the combined efforts of the new owners, all of whom instructed in various capacities. In 1961, attorneys Erwin Greenberg and James Spangler, assumed the administrative duties of the College. They operated the College until 1979, when Bruno Bak, a faculty member since his graduation from Worsham in 1947, became President. Mr. Bak together with Joan Tomczak-Bak, who served in the capacity as Registrar since 1967, moved the College to the northern suburbs of Chicago.

Presently, Karl Kann, President and Stephanie Kann, Vice President, both graduates of Worsham College in 1990, are the Chief Administrators of the College. In the tradition set forth by generations, and most notably Joan and Bruno Bak, Stephanie and Karl Kann continue to nurture and guide students. Their mission is to insure that Worsham College of Mortuary Science grows and evolves, meeting the everchanging needs of the funeral service profession.