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By Chaplain Kelly Brooks

Remembering the Rev. William Horn

Some people in our lives leave an indelible mark that time can never erase. The Rev. William Horn was one of those people, serving God by serving others, loving and loved by all who knew him. Bill began his life in ministry as a congregational pastor, but a divine hand guided him to the chaplaincy at The Good Shepherd Home where he worked for almost 30 years until retiring in 2010.

On January 14, Bill, 76, passed away. Bill understood the biblical concept of servanthood to the Lord and he lived his life with that focus. He had a kind heart, and Bill always had time to stop, listen and talk with anyone in need of a compassionate ear. He met people where they were, both spiritually and physically, often bending down to speak with them.

Bill was adored by Good Shepherd’s long-term care residents. He knew all their names and their stories. Bill enjoyed sharing stories of family events, accomplishments and vacation pictures with the residents who were an extended family to Bill.

Grounded in the Lutheran theology of grace, Bill was a forward thinker like the Rev. Dr. Conrad Raker, son of Good Shepherd’s founders the Rev. John H. and D. Estella Raker. Bill’s sermons always included encouraging and thoughtful words for his audience to ponder.

Bill was a wise soul always willing to share his insights with others. He felt strongly about speaking with rostered leaders about chaplaincy as well as promoting the education of chaplains on the national level. 

In the community, Bill was one of Good Shepherd’s best ambassadors. He spoke to congregations about the mission and vision the Rakers began. He was a consummate advocate for people with disabilities, demystifying stereotypes and teaching congregations ways to make their churches more accessible to all. Bill coordinated confirmation workshops at Good Shepherd and local churches in an effort to sensitize youth to people with disabilities.

Bill was keenly aware of the plight of those with mental health concerns and the needs of Latinos, and supported efforts to broaden the public’s understanding of these populations. He was one of the few people awarded both the Raker Spirit Award for his dedication to service within Good Shepherd as well as the Raker Memorial Award for his service to the community.

Of all Bill’s wonderful qualities, one of his best was his sense of humor. His dry wit and ability to make others laugh invited you in with his gentle demeanor. And Bill was well known for his hilarious Halloween costumes. Who among us could forget his appearance as a six-foot chicken?

One of the things near and dear to Bill’s heart was his family. He met his wife in a church setting and was instantly smitten. They were married fifty one years. Bill once said he wanted to retire early enough to enjoy time with family and to travel. However, ministry was never far away as he worked with congregations and continued his call to share the good news of Christ.