John C. Hornor

John C. Hornor ( )

John C. "Jack" Hornor, a naval architect and marine surveyor who once inspected the Constellation to ensure the venerable ship was still seaworthy, died Oct. 1 of brain disease at Hospice of Queen Anne's in Centreville. He was 68.

"Jack was an excellent maritime surveyor, whether it was as part of disaster relief or advising someone on whether they should buy a boat," said John Adey, president of the American Boat & Yacht Council, where Mr. Hornor served as chairman. "When you think about it, you're the last guy who is going to look at something that a lot of people are going to take a trip on, and make a decision on whether it's safe or not. ... It's a great responsibility, and Jack had the expertise and the ability to deal with that."

A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Mr. Hornor was raised in Waterloo, some 100 miles to the east. As a student, he played tackle and guard for the 1962 Waterloo High School football team, which finished the season undefeated; one of his teammates was future New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin.

After spending two years at Emporia State College in Kansas, which he attended on a football scholarship, Mr. Hornor joined the Army and flew helicopters as a member of the Special Forces, or Green Berets. Following his honorable discharge, he received degrees in business administration from the State University of New York and, later, naval architecture from the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology.

Mr. Hornor worked as a service manager at several large marinas, and for a time was in charge of the marine facilities of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., before starting his own business, Marine Survey & Design Co. Mr. Hornor's specialty was handling damage claims.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy last year, he helped salvage hundreds of boats as part of the Catastrophe Team for BoatU.S. Marine Insurance.

Mr. Hornor was the project naval architect and surveyor for the restoration of the 113-year-old steam tug "Baltimore," which is docked at the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

In 2004, when the Constellation was moved from Baltimore's Inner Harbor to the Naval Academy as part of the ship's birthday celebration, Mr. Hornor was asked to inspect its hull and make sure it could handle the trip. Although it had to be pulled by tug, it did just fine.

Mr. Hornor and his wife of 25 years, Elaine Dickinson, moved from Takoma Park, in Montgomery County, to southern Anne Arundel County in 1997, to be near his Annapolis office. In July, they moved to the Talbot County town of Neavitt, where they restored a century-old farmhouse on one of the area's many creeks.

"That was Jack's pride and Joy," Ms. Dickinson said. "He had a real eye for design work. He came up with just some great ideas for remodeling this house."

A dedicated and enthusiastic sailor, Mr. Hornor was rarely happier than when he was out on the water, his wife said.

"He sailed his whole life," she said. "He really loved it."

Mr. Hornor took pride in mentoring new members of his profession, Ms. Dickinson said. That included Mr. Adey, who said, "From a knowledge base, he had all the bases covered. He just really had the whole package."

Mr. Hornor was a former board member of the National Association of Marine Surveyors and a member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers and the Mid-Atlantic Mariners Club.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Hornor is survived by his sister, Judith Parsons, of Las Vegas.

A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Oct. 9 at Fellows, Helfenbein & Newnam Funeral Home, 200 South Harrison St. in Easton.

chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com