In Memoriam: Townsend Hornor


The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death September 11, 2005 of Honorary Trustee and Honorary Member of the Corporation Townsend Hornor at his home in Osterville, MA of cancer. He was 78.

Townsend "Townie" Hornor was affiliated with the Institution for more than four decades and was a longtime friend and avid supporter.  He was elected a Trustee in 1969 and served until 1988, and was elected a Member of the Corporation in 1982, serving until 1997. That same year he was elected an Honorary Trustee and Honorary Member of the Corporation. During the 1970s and 1980s he was a member of the Executive, Finance and Budget, and Development committees. He joined the Associates program in 1956 and was a member for more than 40 years, serving as President of the Associates from 1968 to 1982.

Born in New York City in 1927, he moved to Cape Cod with his family in the early 1930s when his father helped establish the Chester Crosby & Sons boatyard in Osterville, and lived in the family home much of his life. He served in the U.S. Naval Reserves during World War II and was graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor's degree in colonial and maritime history in 1954. While at Harvard he studied under and worked for Samuel Eliot Morison, who was then completing his history of the U.S. Navy in World War I.

Townie worked in corporate finance for many years in Boston and New York, living in Chestnut Hill, MA, or Greenwich, CT, and spending as much time as possible at his home in Osterville until residing there full-time in the 1970s. He was first vice president and general partner of White Weld & Co., investment bankers, from 1952 to 1978, former director and audit committee member of Kollmorgen Corporation and Nickerson Lumber Company, a former director of Sturm Ruger & Co., and retired chairman of the Naval War College Foundation. He was a former director of Simon & Schuster, Ealing Corporation, and Endevco Corporation. He served as chairman of the board of Cape Cod Hospital, Sea Education Association, and the Cape & Islands United Way, hosting many fundraisers for nonprofit and charitable organizations on the Cape and Islands at his home. Townie also served on the boards of the Kelley Foundation,  as an overseer of Plimoth Plantation, and as an honorary corporation member of the Bermuda Biological Station for Scientific Research. With his late wife Elizabeth "Betsy" Hornor, he founded the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay.

After his retirement from corporate finance, he worked as a private business consultant and president of West Bay Marine Corporation, a small boat service business in Osterville devoted to maintaining wooden sailboats and small craft.

Townie was passionate about the oceans all his life. He sailed his 21-foot catboat Frances for 35 years, donating it to the Osterville Historical Society, where it is on display. He served as Commodore of the Wianno Yacht Club and was a member of several clubs, including the New York Yacht Club.

Survivors include his wife, Catherine (Childs) Hornor, of Osterville, MA; a son, Townsend "Sandy" Hornor, Jr. of Maryland; two daughters, Grace Hornor Evans of Cohasset, MA and Sally Graham Hornor of Maryland; nine grandchildren; and a brother, Dewitt Hornor of New York City.  He was also the husband of the late Barbara (Graham) Hornor and the late Elizabeth "Betsy" (Saunders) Hornor, who died in 1999.

A celebration of his life was held September 16 at his home in Osterville.  In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to The National Marine Life Center, 120 Main Street, P.O. Box 269, Buzzards Bay, MA.


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