CSU Chico memorializes Punch Worthington, champion of asbestos/mesothelioma victims

Chico Statements: a publication of
California State University, Chico

Spring, 2007

Devoted to Justice

David Hansen “Punch” Worthington (AB, Life and General Science, 1962, MA Biological Sciences, 1965) died Aug. 25, 2006 at the age of 70 from lung cancer as a result of asbestos poisoning. He spent the last ten years of his career as an asbestos investigator helping those afflicted with asbestos poisoning obtain justice.

Punch had a Ph.D. in genetics from Oregon State University and taught college science in the Pacific Northwest and Canada before retiring to pursue his true calling as a labor organizer and peace activist. Punch’s son David says his father bridged polarities within his passionately full life. HE was bot a U.S. Marine and a fervent protestor against the wars in Vietnam, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Iraq; an accomplished bow hunter and an animal lover; a boxer and a cross-country runner; a scientist and a disciple of Native American mythology. “He embraced all flavors,” says David.

Punch organized pickets of the United Farm Workers, helped found the Veterans Caucus at Oregon State, helped build a hospital in Nicaragua with the Ben Linder construction brigade, and was founding president of the Salem Committee on Latin America. He fought against toxic smokestack emissions near Salem, Oregon, and participated in yearly “barbed wire roundups” to liberate ranchland in Eastern Oregon for pronghorn, coyote, fox, and other wild animals. As a self-decribed disciple of Native American mythology, he worshipped the wonders of the natural world.

Like lightning in a bottle, Punch just lit the world up,” says his son Roger.

Punch is survived by brother Jack, sons Norman, Roger, and David, and three grandchildren. For more information on Punch’s life and work, go to www.mesothel.com/profiles/punch_obit.htm.

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