From Africa to Baltimore: The long path to education for a Hopkins star

Gordon E. Horak, computer programer, dies

Gordon E. Horak, a retired Social Security Administration computer programmer who enjoyed performing in amateur theater, died of pulmonary fibrosis May 13 at the Charlestown retirement community in Catonsville. He was 83.

The son of Albert Horak, a city employee, and Emma Kraft Bados, a homemaker, Gordon Edward Horak was born in his grandparents' North Bradford Street home in East Baltimore and raised in Pigtown.

After graduating from Southern High School in 1951, he served in the Army for two years. He attended evening classes at several community colleges and the Johns Hopkins University.

Mr. Horak worked for 24 years as a computer programmer at the Social Security Administration's headquarters in Woodlawn. He retired in 1994.

The former Hebbville resident volunteered at Cylburn Arboretum, CASA of Maryland and Senior Cybernet, and did adult literacy tutoring.

Mr. Horak was a member of the Czech and Slovak Heritage Association of Maryland and had been a student in the group's language school.

He enjoyed listening to classical and folk music from around the world, family members said.

At Charlestown, where he had lived since 2004, Mr. Horak enjoyed gardening and working in the computer lab, as well as performing with the Little Theatre troupe.

He and his wife of 43 years, the former Eleanor Handley Clark, founded the Wine Enjoyment Group at the Catonsville retirement community in 2007. It now now has 45 members and meets three times a month, family members said.

He was also an artist who worked in graphite and ink, and he wrote detailed accounts about his travels with his wife. He also wrote poetry, especially haikus.

At his request, there will be no funeral service. Plans for a gathering to celebrate his life gathering are incomplete.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Harold Scott Horak of Kissimmee, Fla.; two stepsons, Jim Clark of Frederick and Dennis Clark of Cape Cod, Mass.; a stepdaughter, Patricia A. Hagerty of Indian Land, S.C.; a brother, Gilbert Horak of Arbutus; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. His marriage to Marlene House ended in divorce.

—Frederick N. Rasmussen

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