Elmer "Buck" Worthington was born August 13, 1910, in Holland, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Frank Clayton Worthington and Edna (Balderson) Worthington. He graduated from Colorado State University in 1933 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry. Following graduation, he found work as a forester with the United States Forest Service in Deadwood, South Dakota. He married Helen Schladweiler April 15, 1936, in Sturgis, South Dakota. The couple had three daughters: Edna Ann, Joann, and Phyllis Ann.
The family moved to North Dakota in 1936, where Worthington took a position with the United States Soil Conservation Service. He became active in the effort to plant shelterbelts throughout the state. His first shelterbelt was planted near Larimore, North Dakota, although his efforts were not confined only to North Dakota. He supervised their planting in both Dakotas, as well as parts of Montana. He retired from the Soil Conservation Service in 1969, but found work soon thereafter as the Mandan city forester. When Mandan had the first case of Dutch Elm Disease in North Dakota, Worthington took the lead in fighting this outbreak. He also functioned as superintendent of Morton County parks.
Elmer Worthington was a member of the Masonic Lodge, Elks, Rotary, Nature Conservancy, and the Society of American Foresters. He also served as state president of the North Dakota Jaycees. He died August 4, 1990, in Mandan, while Helen died October 25, 1990, also in Mandan. Both are buried at Mandan Union Cemetery.