DURHAM- James Thomas “Jack” Horner, Sr., age 97, a veteran newspaper journalist who was sports editor of the Durham Morning Herald from 1944 thru 1968 died at the Hock Pavilion January 31, 2013. He suffered from dementia and had only been sick four days with kidney disease.
He was born in Fayetteville, NC son of Josiah Turner Horner and Hattie Belle McLean. He was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Dorothy Watkins, of Granville County, who died 1994. He was also preceded in death by his half-brother, William Kimball, his brother, Joseph W. Horner, and his sisters, Hattie Pauline Singleton, Mable Agnes Mays.
He is survived by his son, James T. “Tom” Horner, Jr. of N. Myrtle Beach, SC, daughter, Donna Sue Riggsbee Riley Van of Rougemont, NC; grandchildren, Clay Riggsbee Yen, Kelly Riggsbee Lilley Dan, Sharon Horner Killian Chris, Lisa Horner Emmons husband Craig and Kimberly Horner Perusich Mark; Step-grandson, Brad Riley Kaci of Mebane and five great grandchildren.
In 1934, Mr. Horner graduated from Fayetteville High School and National Business College in Charlotte in 1935. He worked as an office clerk at Burlington Industries and covered local sports for the Burlington Times News. In 1936, Greensboro Daily News hired him and he became the sports editor in 1939. He took the job of Sports Editor of the Durham Morning Herald in 1944 until 1968. He was the first Executive Director of Carolinas Professional Golf Association in 1968, chosen by Dugan Aycock, golf professional from Lexington, NC. In 1978, he was appointed Golf Consultant and Tournament Director of the Walter Hagen golf event sponsored by the American Cancer Society of New York. Mr. Horner worked for seven years arranging fund raising golf tournaments from coast to coast. He organized The Carolinas PGA Seniors Golf Association until his retirement in 1985, at the age of 70.
Mr. Horner interviewed many coaches, players, golf greats and he always wrote showing no favoritism. He loved baseball. He was official scorer for the Durham Bulls for 24 consecutive seasons; served as publicity director of Carolina Baseball League for over 20 years and founded and published its own Record Book from 1947 to 1967. He served on the Board of Directors of Putt Putt Golf Courses of America from 1957 to 1967. For over 20 years he wrote a monthly column in Southern Coach and Athlete, a magazine out of Atlanta, GA. From 1947 thru 1967 he covered the Atlantic Coast & Southern Conferences Street and Smiths Annual football yearbook.
In 1944, Mr. Horner joined Calvary Methodist Church and transferred to Duke’s Chapel United Methodist Church in 1967. He was an active member of the Durham Exchange Club from 1944 until 1968, and was Exchangite of the Year in 1947. He was voted NC Sportswriter of the year in 1967 by the National Association of Broadcasters and Sportswriters. In 1971, he was named NC Sports Administrator of the Year. He was a lifetime honorary member of the Golf Writers Assoc. of America, the Atlantic Coast Sportswriters Assoc. and the Carolinas Golf Reporters Assoc. He was past president of Atlantic Coast Sportswriters Assn. and the Carolina Golf Reporters Assn., where he served as secretary treasurer for 13 years. He founded and served as president of Durham Quarterback Club all 10 years it operated the Wallace Wade era from 1946 to 1956.
He served on Look Magazines All American Football Selection Committee for 10 years. A past member of the Board of Directors of Football Writers Assn. of America, Golf Writers Assn. of America and Basketball Writers of America.
Jack and Dot raised their children in the Duke Park area of Durham and in 1983 moved to Croasdaile Condominiums. From 2005 until September 2012, he resided at Carolina House of Durham.
Funeral Services will be held 2:00 PM Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at Duke’s Chapel United Methodist Church on 807 Old Oxford Road, Durham, NC 2770. Private burial will follow in Maplewood Cemetery.
Friends may visit Tuesday 1:30-2:00pm prior to the service in the church.
In lieu of flowers memorial gifts may be made to Duke’s Chapel UMC, 805 Old Oxford Road, Durham, NC 27704 or Duke Homecare & Hospice, 4321 Medical Park Drive, Suite 101, Durham, NC 27704.
The family would like to extend special thanks to Ashley Freeze, his nurse caregiver that enriched the last 4 months of his life. Many thanks to Hock Pavilion for their excellent care for 30 hours as he was ready to go and get on with the Lord’s work.
He was a friend to all that knew him, always doing for others, thinking of and helping the less fortunate. His love for his children and grandchildren shall never be forgotten.
Arrangements for the Horner family are under the care of Hall Wynne Funeral Service. Online condolences www.hallwynne.com