Headstones at Arlington National Cemetery
Archive photo

Retired Sgt. Maj. Francis Horner

Francis Horner passed March 22, 2021, at his home in Payson, Arizona. 

Horner was born in 1919 in Kansas and grew up on a wheat farm, the oldest of seven.

Francis had proposed to Fern when they were in the fourth grade at a little country school south of Oxford, Kansas, but she refused his proposal at that time. The Horners married Aug. 22, 1939, in Winfield, Kansas, in the home of Fern’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. John A. Zirkel, on her parents 20th wedding anniversary.

Prior to the start of World War II, Francis volunteered with the U.S. Army and went into the Army Corps of Engineers. In 1941, Francis was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Corps, serving in the African and European campaigns. He retired as a sergeant major after 42 years of service to the country. In the mid ’70s he was called back to active service to inspect the many American war dead cemeteries in Europe and Africa.

Upon his return home from WWII, the Horners settled in Winfield where Francis did home repairs and built new homes.

In 1958, he took the job of head of the engineering department for the 190th Air National Guard in Hutchinson. Fern started working in Document Control for the Guard unit in 1960. They were later transferred to Topeka until they retired in June 1981.

The Horners have one son, Leslie R. Horner, who retired from the Arizona Air National Guard at Tucson, and three grandsons: Terry R. Horner, Arizona Army National Guard; Tad L. Horner at the University of Arizona, and Timothy E. Horner, Industrial Engineering in Tucson. The couple has three great grandchildren.

Fern preceded Francis in death.

Services will he held in Payson at Messengers Funeral Home Wednesday, March 31, at 2.00 p.m.  Burial will be Friday in Phoenix with a limitation of family members only. https://www.messingermortuary.com