He earned the trust of families, the admiration of colleagues and the accolades of leaders.
His name, Louis J.R. Goorey, will be engraved in stone to stand in front of Worthington's center of government.
From now on, City Hall will be called "The Louis J.R. Goorey Worthington Municipal Building."
The resolution renaming the building at 6550 N. High St. was the final act culminating Goorey's 40 years as a member of Worthington City Council, the past 18 of which he served as president.
Council members saved the surprise for the end of the Dec. 16 meeting, which was set aside for comments from state and county leaders, fellow council members and Vice Mayor James Lorimer, who for years has honored residents with his well-researched, eloquent speeches.
Lorimer offered his words after Goorey opened the meeting "one more time."
"We are here this evening to recognize one of the most wise and effective leaders this or any community has known," Lorimer said.
He noted that Goorey and former council president John Coleman have been the city's only presidents in 46 years, and he reviewed Goorey's many contributions, ending by saying, "As we look back on our lives, it is the wealthiest of all men who can say, 'My life has made a real difference for the good in the lives of many others.' Dr. Louis Roseberry Goorey is among the wealthiest of all men."
Many local leaders lauded Goorey's service:
• State Sen. Jim Hughes (R-Clintonville) called Goorey a friend to all.
"Well done, good and faithful servant," he said. "The city and state are better because of you."
• State Rep. Mike Duffey (R-Worthington), who served five years on council and whose father served on council with Goorey, said he was thankful for his "friendship, advice and kindness."
• Franklin County Commissioner Paula Brooks said: "What an unbelievable mark you have left on Worthington, Franklin County and the state of Ohio. I don't know what Worthington will look like without you sitting up here."
• Sue Cave, director of the Ohio Municipal League and daughter of the late John Coleman, said city leaders from all over Ohio admire Worthington, and her father spoke highly of the retiring president.
"Thank you for the example you have set," she said.
• City Manager Matt Greeson thanked Goorey on behalf of city staff.
"You have made it easy for all of us to succeed. You find the best in people. You set the benchmark for all of us," he said.
• Council member Doug Smith, the youngest member of council, thanked Goorey for being a role model.
"I will do my part not to screw it up," he said.
• Council member Joe Davis said he had never known a more selfless person.
"I have been incredibly honored ever to make your acquaintance," he said.
• Council member Scott Myers thanked Goorey for caring for his very sick child many years ago and for always being there "to pick me up, cover for me" on council."
"We're all going to be a little lost without you here," he said.
• Council member Bob Chosy thanked Goorey for never pushing, never threatening.
"You are a gentleman and a gentle man," he said.
• Council member Bonnie Michael said Goorey has been a guiding light in her life, and, together with former council member Lou Briggs (the Lou-Lou team, she called them), she had the best mentors anyone could have.
Michael ended the meeting by presenting to Goorey the resolution, which permanently gives the municipal building his name. She showed him a picture of how the new sign in front of the building would appear.
The honor seemed to truly take him by surprise.
Michael then uttered words that might never have been spoken in council chambers.
"We love you."
•MORE ON GOOREY: Pollution prompted Goorey's political aspirations