The Edmond Sun

February 25, 2013

Worsham brought style to Around the Corner

Hundreds mourn former restaurant owner’s passing

Patty Miller
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Monday Charlotte Worsham was laid to rest, and as her family and friends mourned the loss of their friend, they realized her suffering was over. She had survived her first bout with cancer, but it had come back again.

Worsham was born Aug. 21, 1943, in Durant. She died Feb. 21, 2013, in Edmond. Services were Monday at Matthews Funeral Home Chapel and interment was at Gracelawn Cemetery.

She is survived by her son, Danny J. Worsham Jr. and her daughter, Marsha Hicks.

Worsham was a fixture in downtown Edmond. She owned and operated the Around the Corner Restaurant for 26 years, retiring in April 2012.

“Charlotte was an individual in her own right,” said Pete Reeser, an Edmond Realtor. “I have known her for 24 years, and I convinced her to move her restaurant from the east side of street to west side so she could have more parking.”

In January of 2011, Worsham was surprised by the Downtown Edmond Business Association as they honored her for owning Around the Corner Restaurant, 11 S. Broadway. The restaurant is now 52 years old.

A few months later Worsham would surprise the local residents who had been her customers and friends by selling her business to an Edmond family who has been in the restaurant business for many years.

Worsham showed up the day she signed over the restaurant to the new owners with large bunches of flowers that she placed in containers in the front and back of the business. She told the new owners she would be bringing flowers to fill the containers every fall and spring like she had done every year since she opened the restaurant.

A family restaurant, Around the Corner became the early morning gathering place for retirees, politicians and business owners in downtown Edmond. Coffee was hot and the chatter was fun as Worsham had something to say to everyone as they came through her door.  

Whether a first-time customer or a daily visitor, Worsham welcomed each person and would stop by their table as she chatted them up about family and friends. Those who came often to the restaurant knew they could catch up on the happenings around town as they shared jokes with Charlotte or were the target of her quick wit, and many made long-lasting friendships.

Some will remember her restaurant filled with fascinating photos of Edmond in the early days and roosters and chickens — lots of chickens — and more than a few customers will remember her dressing up like a chicken and singing Happy Birthday to customers on their special day.

Reeser said when customers had a birthday she would dress up wishing them a happy birthday. “You would be one embarrassed person,” Reeser said.

Worsham was known as the “Chicken Lady” because of her collection of chickens that filled the walls and shelves as they kept customers company.

Worsham, a breast cancer survivor, is known for her wit and willingness to stand up for what she believes as well as the good food served in her restaurant.

Buried in University of Oklahoma socks, Worsham was an O.U. fan to the end.

“Her pastor Rev. Tim Richardson is an Oklahoma State University fan, and Charlotte was always ready with a quick remark or home made signs in the window giving him a hard time when O.U. and O.S.U. faced each other,” said Helen Jackson, who has known Worsham for 47 years. “We started working together at Kip’s Big Boy in 1967, and I came to work for her a year after she she opened her restaurant on the east side of Broadway before moving to her present location.”

Many will remember her making local news as she climbed a tree in front of her restaurant and chained herself to the trunk when the city decided to do a downtown makeover. Plans included removing the trees on Broadway, laying new sidewalks and planting new types of trees.

Later a longtime customer made a table from the tree in front of her store, which is still used by patrons.

“The main thing was it was the place to go. Around the Corner was the meeting place in downtown Edmond,” Reeser said. “Politicians, former governors and district attorneys would meet there. I always enjoyed going in there. Charlotte was a good friend.”

Karen Morton, former president of DEBA and owner of Sacred Heart Gifts, said she and Charlotte became friends and became very close.

“At the end of the day she would bring my husband Mack and I dinner, especially if she had Salisbury steak left over.”

Morton said Worsham didn’t care about anyone knowing the good she did. She would just show up and do something for someone.

“There was a very sentimental and sensitive side to her that maybe everyone didn’t see,” Morton said. “If she was having a bad day she would just come and walk through the store. It was like she knew she could get away and find a calm retreat for a little while.”

A bronze statue sits in front of the restaurant, another testament to Worsham, her friends and their sense of humor.

This bronze statue of a pig with a hen sitting on its back is nestled on the sidewalk in front of Around the Corner restaurant with the text on a plaque, which says: “Ham & Eggs, By D.D. Mason, Purchased by Around the Corner Restaurant and Friends.”

Later a second statue titled “A Girl Feeding Chickens” was added.

In an earlier interview Worsham said, “It’s not me that keeps the restaurant going. I just have the key. It’s the people that come in day after day.”

Worsham won’t be bringing bright flowers this spring to put in the planters, but it is a sure thing her friends and customers won’t forget her or the joy she brought to their lives.