09/15/07 - NNHS Newsletter - J.W. Hornsby

John William Hornsby, Jr.
(15 Sept 1927 - 14 Sept 2007)

Newport News High School Class of 1944

Dear Friends and Schoolmates,   

   We have yet another sad edition of the NNHS Newsletter today.  Former Mayor J.W. Hornsby, Class of 1944, has passed away in Newport News on the day before his 80th birthday.

From the Daily Press - 09/15/07:

Hornsby, former mayor of Newport News, dies

The man who led the city during school integration and who worked to develop Oyster Point was 79.

September 15, 2007

NEWPORT NEWS - John William Hornsby Jr., who served as mayor of Newport News from 1970 to 1974, died early Friday morning, one day before his 80th birthday.

Mr. Hornsby, known as J.W. and Bill by friends and family, had been living at the James River Convalescent Center and was surrounded by loved ones when he died.

"He was a fine man," said William G. Haskins, the only council member left in office who served under Mr. Hornsby. "He was honest. He was straightforward and believed in equal representatives and equal government. Bill cared what the people think."

Mr. Hornsby was part of a prominent local family who for years have played an active role on the Peninsula's business, cultural and political scene.

He graduated from Newport News High School in 1944 and served in the Army from 1946 to 1947.

He attended the College of William and Mary and graduated from its Marshall Wythe School of Law in 1952.

During his tenure as mayor, he cultivated a culture of fairness.

"He was even-handed and treated people with dignity and equality," said Mary Sherwood Holt, who served on the council under Mr. Hornsby.

That treatment proved important as Jessie M. Rattley, who became the city's first female and first black mayor, served her first term on the council under Mr. Hornsby.

"I remember campaigning for him," said Douglas L. Hornsby, one of Mr. Hornsby's nephews.

"He tried to do a lot to bring together black and white."

Holt recalled that when busing started to integrate schools in Newport News, "there were all sorts of outrageous behaviors going on around the city. Mayor Hornsby said, 'This is the law. The government has spoken. I'm not asking you if you like it or dislike it. But the city of Newport News is going to abide by the law.' "

In later years, from 1974 to 1988, Mr. Hornsby served as the attorney for the Oyster Point Development Corp.

"They literally drained the swamp and put in an unheard of $6 million worth of roads," said Douglas L. Hornsby. "He and that board recognized that this was the golden center of Newport News. The product of those times is very telling that he was skilled in land planning."

In both his public and private life, said current Newport News Mayor Joe Frank, "he handled himself as a gentleman. He had a lot of pride in the community and loved this city."

A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday at Hidenwood Presbyterian Church. Interment will be at Peninsula Memorial Park.

More articles

From the Daily Press - 09/15/07:

  John William Hornsby, Jr.  
  NEWPORT NEWS - John William Hornsby Jr. ('J.W.', 'Bill') died Friday, Sept. 14, 2007, surrounded by his family.

He was born Sept. 15, 1927, in Newport News and was the youngest child of John William and Georgiana White Hornsby. Later his family moved from Seaford to Yorktown, where the family often gathers at The Hornsby House.

Bill graduated from Newport News High School in 1944. From 1946 to 1947, he was stationed in Japan serving as Staff Sergeant in the United States Army. He graduated from The College of William and Mary in 1950 and from the Marshall Wythe School of Law in 1952. J.W. practiced law from 1952 to 1992, and was president of the Newport News Bar Association in 1976. Bill also served as first chairman of the Pentran Bus Company and president of the Lower Peninsula Mental Health Association.


J.W. Hornsby


J.W. entered politics, was elected to the Newport News City Council, and then appointed by the council to serve as Mayor of Newport News from 1970 to 1974. He was the representative lawyer for the Oyster Point Development Corporation from 1974 to 1988. He earned his real estate license and was a broker with Yeatts & Company, Inc. from 1992 to 2003.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents and his siblings, William Sherwood Hornsby, Charles White Hornsby, Robert Stanley Hornsby, Marian Hornsby Bowditch, and Norman Thurlow Hornsby.J.W. is survived by his wife, Jacqueline ('Jackie') Webb Hornsby; and children, Anne Maxwell Hornsby of Silver Spring, Md., Elizabeth ('Beth') White Hornsby of Pasadena, Md., John William ('J.W.') Hornsby III and wife, Cindy, of Abingdon, Susan Hornsby Bruce and husband, Cliff, of Richmond, Whitney Morris Hux and husband, Dan, of Wendell, N.C., Sydney Morris Kaiser and husband, Rob, of Arlington and Leonard Marshall Morris of Atlanta, Ga.; grandchildren, Daria Kate Frances Hornsby, William Valentin Lewis Hornsby of Abingdon, Devynne Maxwell Bruce, Clifton Faulkner ('C.F.') Bruce III, David Hornsby Bruce, Molly Griffin Bruce, all of Richmond, Gavin William ('Wil') McClung of Richmond and Gareth David McClung of Wendell, N.C.

J.W. is survived by his brother-in-law, Jack Marshall Webb, who was his primary caregiver in recent months. He is also survived by Susan ('Suzelle') Hull Hornsby of Richmond, the mother of his four children, and sisters-in-law, Rebecca Boykin Hornsby of Newport News, Lois Saunier Hornsby of Williamsburg; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

A memorial service will be conducted by the Rev. William G. Lamont at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Hidenwood Presbyterian Church, 414 Hiden Blvd., Newport News. Interment will be held at Peninsula Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made, in his memory, to The American Cancer Society, 11835 Canon Blvd., Suite A-102, Newport News, VA 23606.

Peninsula Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Published in the Daily Press on 9/15/2007.
Guest Book


I'm sorry to hear of your loss. It was a pleasure getting to know Mr. Hornsby and being surrounded in the positive atmosphere and love of Jackie and Jack. Mr. Hornsby and your family will never be forgotten.
Lindsey Semon-5W (VA) - September 15, 2007
Dear Jackie, Jack, and family,
I am so sorry for your loss. My dad and JW were "roommates" at the James River last month. Dad passed away Sept.2. It is the end of an era. Best wishes, Bev Brooks Phillips
Beverly Brooks Phillips (Poquoson, VA) - September 15, 2007
Dear Jackie
Mary Jane and I send our sincere condolences to you. Bill was always a warm, caring, and professional gentleman.
God bless you
Mary Jane and Jennings Bryan (Newport News, VA) - September 15, 2007
Dear Jackie, Lenny and Family,
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I will always have great memories of all of us and Jack and JW last year at the beach...I think that was a great week for everyone. Please let me know if there is anything I can do...all my love, Angela Robertson
Angela Robertson (Yorktown, VA) - September 16, 2007
Bill was an old friend of my parents & I remember him as always being a nice man. My condolences to his family.
Allison Tysinger (Mount Pleasant, SC) - September 16, 2007
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My prayers are with you in the loss of your husband. May God be with you in this time of sorrow. In Christ Love.
TERESA TAYLOR (VA. BEACH, VA) - September 17, 2007
Dear Anne and family,
Our sincere sympathy for the loss of your dad. I have such wonderful memories of his visits with all of us in college. The Haynes-Donahue family has you in our thoughts and prayers.

Peggy, Russ, Mark, and Scott
Peggy Haynes (Freeport, ME) - September 17, 2007
Dear Jackie & family:
Mickey and I were traveling when we received word that Bill had passed away. My aunt passed away on September 12th and we are in Michigan attending her funeral. We are so sorry we will be unable to be there. As you know he did so much for me and my children during my trying times over the 30 years I worked for him. I could not have made it without him. He was a wonderful man and I will never forget him. We will miss him. You all will be in our thoughts and prayers in the upcoming days.
Sue & Mickey Anderson (Gloucester, VA) - September 17, 2007
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My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.
Belinda Langston (Newport News, VA) - September 18, 2007

   Our sincerest sympathies are extended to the Hornsby family - and indeed, the entire community - at this time.

   Y'all take good care of each other!  TYPHOONS FOREVER!  We'll Always Have Buckroe!

                          Love to all, Carol


NNHS CLASS OF '65 WEB SITE: http://www.nnhs65.00freehost.com

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Carol Buckley Harty
219 Four Ply Lane
Fayetteville, NC 29311-9305

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