Denver Lee Horn

Waybright Funeral Home

Denver Lee Horn

Denver Lee Horn, age 71, passed away peacefully at home near family, June 06, 2021 following a short illness compounded by complications from a broken heart.

Born at home in October of 1949, he is preceded in death by both parents, Spicer Carl Horn and Mabel Irene Horn. On May 17, 1971 he married his accomplice, and love of his life, Deborah "Debbie" Kay Horn, who preceded him in death in October 2020.

He is survived by loving family, sons Christopher Horn, Jason Horn, Denver Horn II, grandchildren Kaleb Horn, Skyla Horn, Jaden Horn, and siblings Sarah Southall, Sheila Kerns, Lessie Kerns, Icie Kerns, Florence Bryant, David Horn, and Irene Williams.

Denver was a kind, sharing, patriotic, reserved man, whose abrupt absence feels like a figurative punch to the face and kick to the guts, followed by an absolute loss of all five senses. And, in this diminished state, an attempt must be made to illustrate how the brilliant incandescence of a good man's soft-spoken soul illuminated every life he touched.

Foremost, in unassuming ways, nothing entered his sphere of influence he wouldn't try nurturing, whether a tree with broken limbs, a person or cat or dog down on their luck. He was always there. He always made things make sense. He always managed to make ends meet. And while certain things invigorated him, like sharing vegetables from his garden or fresh eggs from the henhouse, he was far from a pushover. For instance, he had a merciless aspect that usually only moved into the light during games of horseshoes; he could play for hours, gleefully leaving all challengers in the dust.

He adored memorizing recipes while cooking alongside Debbie for holiday dinners. During his first hospitalization, he obsessed about getting home and perfecting her pinch-o'-this-pinch-o'-that meatloaf recipe.

The man loved walking his dogs, feeding chickens, tending garden, or maintaining and improving the log cabin on the family farm. And even though seemingly perpetually moving, he enjoyed taking quiet moments to sit in the shade, chew a pinch of tobacco and watch the cats sunbathing as multitudes of Cardinals and other birds partook at the feeders, always with a watchful eye on the woods behind his home lest he miss seeing deer.

He was also gifted at taxidermy and creative at heart, always celebrating the memory of lost family members by adding keepsakes within his masonry projects.

Denver was a lifelong hunter and fisherman, never solely to bag a trophy buck or land a prize-winning fish, but rather to feed family. Although he considered obtaining a trophy while providing sustenance a worthy endeavor.

It is said, water is life, and Denver spent many perfect days along riverbanks with family and friends casting lines; where awaiting fish to strike remained secondary to sharing good company and a pristine view of nature.

Denver enjoyed hiking. Or, as family understood his forays into the wild, as expeditions to locate deer antler sheds, arrowheads, peculiar pebbles or stones, or vine twisted saplings he fashioned into walking sticks to give as gifts. In short, if in a hurry, it'd have been ill advised to have taken up with Denver for a walk in the woods.

When he married Debbie, they gave the preacher their last five dollars. Denver used this defining moment as a touchstone for what was important to him in life. Sure, he worked hard to earn a living, but always with willingness to apply every cent in the coffer toward something worthwhile.

He tried his hand at too many vocations to mention here, but it's worth noting he loved something about each profession. Each job always came with varying degrees of difficulty and danger, delighting him, and each offered greater financial solvency and job security. Always approaching everything, to the best of his ability, while working for BJ Hughes oilfield services, he drove a liquid nitrogen tanker truck during his beloved Ripley WV, Fourth of July Celebration and also earned a 1981 employee of the year award. During his tenure at Alan Stone Co. Inc. he collected newspaper clippings from the historic Williamstown Bridge demolition, where hundreds of onlookers watched different sections, the longest span 600 feet, blasted apart with plastic explosives. Denver's favorite picture was from Marietta A.M., an edition of The Parkersburg News, and reads in part, TOP MAN—Denver Horn… and features him balancing upon a narrow I-beam, bent over, and working to remove the bridge deck high above a churning Ohio River. Debbie's favorite picture from those clippings was of a man, his back to the camera, standing atop a dump truck while motioning a crane operator. It was her favorite because, the first time she saw the picture, she tried to get a rise out of her husband by jokingly saying, "Hubba-hubba, that guy's got a nice butt," only to realize, upon reading the caption moments later, that the man in question with the nice butt, was Denver who happily accepted the compliment.

His penultimate job was at Warren Drilling, alongside all three of his sons, who attempted to make the job easier for their dad, only to find, once Denver learned and adjusted to the rhythms of the labor-intensive job, that he oftentimes outpaced his awe inspired boys.

Everyone who knew Denver invariably has a shareable story about man that is either incredible or humorous, or perhaps, a pleasant mixture of both. This is from the incredible category. Long ago, several years before disco fell out of favor, times were tough for the Horn family. There was no money and only a little food. One day, Denver took out the family .22 long rifle, along with his last six bullets, and set off into the woods. Upon his return, he was carrying, not six, but seven rabbits. What happened was, after making the sixth consecutive successful shot, munitions spent, he was sitting atop a cliff, contemplating life and what'd he'd give for a few more bullets, when he noticed, in the heavy brush at the cliff's base, perfectly hidden at ground level, and although sitting motionless, perfectly visible from above, the fabled seventh rabbit. Denver quietly lifted a nearby rock and, thanks to gravity and a fantastic aim, what came next is history. Sometimes, in retelling, the number of bullets is debated, but never the outcome, that endeavoring to be a good provider, Denver returned home with one rabbit more than he had ammunition and the family ate well another day.

Denver chose to have no services. Instead, think of him the next time you're wandering the woods and find something curious, don't be afraid to pick it up and hold onto it for a spell, because you never know if it might serve a special purpose on down the road. Also, if you've ever spent time in the sun, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist; the life you save might be your own. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Nature Conservancy at www.nature.org or at Sierra Club Foundation www.sierraclubfoundation.org

Posted online on June 11, 2021