April 29, 1933 – March 6, 2019
Charles Leonard (Len) Ainsworth, age 85, passed away on March 6, 2019 at his home in Lubbock, Texas. Len was born on April 29, 1933 in San Angelo, Texas to Gideon Plez Ainsworth and Nina Hill Walraven Ainsworth. He had a ranch childhood, growing up in Water Valley, Texas where his father, “Gid,” was a cowboy and ranch hand and his parents operated the small general store in Water Valley. Len graduated from Water Valley High School at the age of 16, one of only eight in his high school class. He first enrolled in Sul Ross College, then attended San Angelo College. He became a student at Texas Tech University in 1951, where he obtained his BA in Spanish, M.Ed, and Ed.D in Curriculum and Education Administration. He did additional coursework at UCLA and Harvard College, and was an Academic year Fellow at the University of Arkansas. He served on many committees of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Ford Foundation, the Association of State Colleges and Universities, and as a Fellow in the American Council of Education. While at Texas Tech, Len met Peggy Louise Price, whom he married in 1953. After service in the U.S. Army, Len began a meaningful career in education, teaching first in the public schools in El Paso and Lubbock. Peggy also taught school until their sons were born. He moved into school administration as a principal in Lubbock, and then served as Assistant Superintendent in Big Spring, Texas before joining Texas Tech University as a faculty member. In 32 years at Texas Tech, he served as Professor of Education, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, Associate Vice-President and Interim Vice-President for Academic Affairs, and Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs. Len specialized in comparative higher education. During these years, he studied higher educational systems around the world, which afforded him the chance to visit many international colleges and universities, and began a lifelong love of travel. He spent semesters studying and teaching as a Visiting Administrator at the University of Stirling (Scotland) and as Visiting Professor at the University of Alberta (Canada). After retiring in 1995, he continued part-time as Director of Tech’s Junction campus through 1998. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas Tech University College of Education in 1995. He was particularly proud of the more than 20 doctoral students that he assisted as their doctoral committee chair. A number of those students still serve in educational leadership roles around the country. Len’s West Texas childhood gave him a deep appreciation for cowboy culture, and he authored and edited editions of cowboy poetry and writings, including The Catch Pen, which was published by The Ranching Heritage Center at Texas Tech in 1991. He enjoyed affiliation with the National Cowboy Symposium. Another of his intellectual interests was bilingual education, and his first published work was a Spanish translation of The Tortoise and The Hare for school children. Two sons, Price and Charley, were born in Lubbock and throughout their childhoods, Len coached Dixie Little League baseball and Youth football league and attended many Little Dribblers basketball games. He was a dedicated and involved husband and father. The family spent many vacations and holidays at their property in Cove, Arkansas, where Peggy was raised. After retirement, Len and Peggy traveled widely and enjoyed time with their children and grandchildren. He loved bird hunting, Texas Tech basketball, and reading and collecting books. He had an unprofitable retirement business dealing in antique books, because he always bought more books than he sold at book shows. During the years that he and Peggy lived at the Carillon, he was able to travel all over the world, visiting every continent, including recent trips to Russia, China, Poland, Cuba, Thailand, Europe, Africa, South America, and Mongolia where he rode horses. He took each of his grandsons individually on an international trip. Perhaps his favorite was the hunting trip with his sons in Argentina. Only weeks ago he traveled again through Argentina. Len served on the Board of Directors of the Texas Folklore Society, the Texas Tech Federal Credit Union, and the Board of Overseers of the National Ranching Heritage Association. For twenty-five years he was on the boards of the National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration. Most recently he served on the Board of Directors of the Carillon and the Carillon Foundation. He was involved in volunteer work as the President of the Book Club of Texas and in delivering Meals on Wheels for the Lubbock organization. Len was preceded in death by his parents, Gid and Nina Ainsworth and his sister, Nina Rose Ainsworth Allard. He is survived by his loving family, including his beloved wife of 65 years, Peggy Ainsworth, sons Price Len Ainsworth (wife Vicki) of Austin, Texas, and Charles Lewis Ainsworth (wife Jennifer) of Tyler, Texas, and grandsons Parker Brown Ainsworth, Dallas, Texas, Charles Colin Ainsworth, New York, and Charles Ross Ainsworth and Henry Price Ainsworth, Tyler, Texas. The family expresses our appreciation to the residents and staff of the Carillon for their care and companionship. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Charles Len and Peggy L. Ainsworth Scholarship in Education at Texas Tech University, or to the Carillon Foundation.
- Gid and Nina Ainsworth, Parents
- Nina Rose Ainsworth Allard, Sister
- Peggy Ainsworth, Wife
- Price Len Ainsworth and wife, Vicki, and Charles Lewis Ainsworth and wife, Jennifer, Sons
- Parker Brown Ainsworth, Charles Colin Ainsworth, Charles Ross Ainsworth and Henry Price Ainsworth, Grandsons
- Charles Len and Peggy L. Ainsworth Scholarship in Education at Texas Tech University
- Carillon Foundation
- Visitation Friday, March 15, 2019
- Funeral Service Saturday, March 16, 2019
March 16, 2019
I enjoyed meeting and getting to know Len through our participation in the National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration as Board members. We visited many times about our mutual love for the cowboy culture and he was certainly a wealth of knowledge on the subject. I especially enjoyed his caring advice, commitment to the organization, and his help with the many presentations of western history over the years. Len was a consistent personality - kind and considerate, taking time to include others, listening when needed, and of course a wonderful teacher - but if you knew Len, none of this is a surprise. We will miss Len greatly, and we should all strive to be the good person we saw in Len!
May God bless the entire Ainsworth family as you carry on his lasting legacy,
March 13, 2019
I have known Peggy and her family since I was 5 years old in a little crossroads in Mt Clair Arkansas. I don't think she could have searched the world over and found a better man to share her life. We lost a very good man this week and he will be missed. Charley and Price, I hope you can fill his shoes and take care of Peggy. Love to all
March 13, 2019
Len was the chair of my dissertation committee. And, he was the person who hooded me during the commencement ceremony. Would never have thought then that he and my mother would both live at Carillon. I always enjoyed seeing him when I ran into him. I have always had so much respect and admiration for him.
March 13, 2019
I have and will retain many fond memories of Len, for the times we shared conversation in their living room and experiences during the Pony League season one summer, while at Tech. He was a wonderful man and friend. Know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers for much comfort and strength.
March 13, 2019
Price and Charlie, so sorry to hear of your Father's death. It seems just yesterday Price was telling us stories of Len riding a horse in Mongolia. What an adventurer and I'm sure an amazing father to you both. Hugs. Flo Schubert
March 12, 2019
Len was a good friend, colleague, and bird hunting companion. I will miss him.
Paul & Lisa Colley
March 11, 2019
Lisa and I are saddened to hear about the passing of your father. Please know that you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. Let us know if there is anything that we can do to be of assistance.
Paul & Lisa Colley