In Memoriam: William H. Horn


The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death June 10, 2004 of retiree William Hamilton Horn, 76, of Falmouth, MA, at the JML Care Center in Falmouth.

Bill was born April 19, 1928 in Scranton, PA.   He joined the US Merchant Marine when he was 16, sailing aboard Liberty ships to Italy and Russia. He attended Bloomfield Vocational High School and Central High School in Newark, New Jersey. In January 1951 Bill joined the US Air Force, serving as a radar technician and ground radio repairman until 1961 and later as a precision electronics calibration technician until his retirement in 1971. During his military service he was stationed at Tapao Air Base in Thailand; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; Thule Air Force Base in Goose Bay, Labrador; Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado; and spent the last 15 years of his Air Force career at Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod.

He joined the Buoy Lab at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1971 as a laboratory assistant, working with Bob Heinmiller. He was promoted to research assistant in 1973, to research assistant in electronics in 1974, and to senior research assistant in electronics in 1986. For thirteen years he serviced current meters and went to sea, and in general did whatever was necessary to make the group succeed. When Karl Schleicher retired in 1984, Bill was asked to take over the calibration facility that Karl operated for the Buoy Group. He ran the standards laboratory until he retired from the Institution in 1993.

Colleagues noted Bill's great aptitude in electronics and his positive attitude. He was careful, conscientious and enthusiastic about his work, and always looked for ways to improve techniques and equipment. If he didn't know the answer to a question he would make every effort to find it. He had an insatiable appetite for knowledge, and once he caught "the bug" about something, he totally immersed himself in that subject.

Bill Horn retired from WHOI in April 1993. A man of many interests, he made stained glass lamps and handcrafted chain mail while pursuing his curiosity about how things worked.

He is survived by his wife, Maxine (Burke) Horn, of Falmouth, MA; a daughter, Kathleen Emily Clement, and her husband, Scott Daniel Clement; and a granddaughter, Justine Clement, all East Falmouth, MA.

Calling hours will be held Monday, June 14, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral home, 475 Main Street, in Falmouth. A graveside service will be held Monday at 1:15 p.m. at the Veterans Administration Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.

Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of one's choice.


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William H. Horn

William H. Horn