We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Commerce Funeral Home and Cremation Service
James L (JL) Horn, 90, passed to his heavenly abode Friday, August 5, 2022. He was surrounded by family members, his caretaker, and Hospice nurse, at his Churchill Apartment home in Commerce, Texas. Viewing/visitation will take place Tuesday, August 9, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. at Cross Trails Cowboy Church. A funeral service will follow at 11:00 a.m. Interment will be at Sonora Cemetery in Fairlie, Texas.
James was born May 24, 1932 to Jake and Thelma Horn in Delta County, Texas. He attended Cooper and Commerce High Schools before joining the US Army in 1951, where he learned his extraordinary cooking skills.
He married Violet Lee Pope on August 1, 1952 in Commerce, Texas, while in the US Army stationed in Killeen, Texas. They had two sons, Michael, born in 1954, and Larry, in 1956.
James is survived by his sons, Michael and wife Louise, of New Braunfels, Texas, and Larry, and wife Lisa, of Hot Springs, Arkansas; brother, John and wife, Lynda; grandchildren, Jeff Horn, and wife Kari of Lubbock, Texas, Jessica and Josh Heckel of Batesville, Arkansas, Lindsey Horn of Hot Springs, Arkansas, Nolan Horn of Rowlett, Texas, Lina Horn of Dallas, Texas, Brittany Williamson of Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Tyler Horn of Round Rock, Texas; ten great-grandchildren, as well as many nieces and nephews. Preceding him in death is his beloved wife of 67 years, Violet, parents, Jake and Thelma Horn, sisters Donna Thetford, Carolyn Gordon, and Loretta Kibler.
James was passionate about all aspects of his life, including his cotton ginning businesses and his ability to cook most any menu to unsurpassed palette pleasing results. But his family was his first priority. This desire to create extended family memories and connections was exemplified by hosting an annual Horn Family Reunion at their lake houses beginning in 1978. This family ties binding tradition has been taken up by grandson Jeff and Kari Horn, who also have hosted recent reunions at their home on Possum Kingdom lake. James and Vi hosted many reunions for the Pope clan as well.
His passion for the cotton ginning industry led him to establish several gin related businesses that operated in Lubbock, Texas for almost 40 years. James’s inventions and innovations significantly altered the cotton ginning industry and many of his US Patented machines are still running in cotton gins throughout the world. His life-long interest in cotton ginning began when he was a teenager. Tom Young was building a new gin in Fairlie, Texas around 1950. Tom hired James and mentored him because of his work ethic, dependability, and desire to learn. Tom trusted this teenage lad to service the big LeRoy engine that turned a single shaft that ran the length of the gin to power all the machinery. After James’s service in the US Army, he graduated from an automotive technical school in Nashville, Tennessee. But interest in gin machinery prevailed and he went to west Texas to work in cotton gins. Then, for eight years he worked as a gin service repairman and eventually managed sales and repair services for Moss Gordon Lint Cleaner, the premier lint cleaner manufacturer in the world at that time. It was here he developed uncanny insights into the inner workings of all pieces of gin equipment. He was an account executive for Continental Gin Company for a while. His business ventures began in 1966 with partnerships that evolved into Horn & Gladden, followed by the establishment of Horn Gin Machinery Company, and Cotton Machinery, Inc. That first venture began with $600 and a pick-up. In the early eighties that emerged into a service and manufacturing company that employed over 300 at times. He was not a trained engineer but had an engineer’s mind not bound by linear thinking. He hired good engineers to help transform his ideas from a sketch to an operating machine. Even after retiring in the late nineties, he continued to consult for some gin owners and to design innovative improvements.
The Horns retired in 2000 and moved to Possum Kingdom Lake where James engaged in part-time real estate sales. On his second retirement in 2005 they moved to Campbell, Texas to be near relatives. When health permitted, they loved to attend Sunday services at Cross Trails Cowboy Church. While living in Campbell, he cultivated a vegetable garden that caused traffic to top on the highway. He also joined a morning coffee and social group on Highway 50 near Commerce. It was there, over coffee, he held the likes of author Jim Ainsworth and others to spellbound attention with his business stories and fun jokes. He also served a term on the board of the Audie Murphy Cotton Museum in Greenville, Texas.
Casket bearers are Larry Horn, Jeff Horn, Tyler Horn, Tucker Horn, Raider Horn, Welker Horn, and Thomas Horn.