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Funeral service set for former Knox commissioner Mary Lou Horner

5:13 PM, Jan 2, 2013   |    comments
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Mary Lou Horner

The funeral for Mary Lou Horner will be Sunday at 3pm at Central Baptist Church in Fountain City.  No visitation is planned at this time.

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Former Knox County commissioner Mary Lou Horner has passed away.

Gentry Griffey funeral home in Fountain City will be handling the arrangements.

Horner requested privacy in August 2011 when she announced through her son that she was suffering from dementia.

Horner spent much of her life dedicated to public service.

She served on the Knox County Commission for more than 25 years, representing the Fountain City and Halls area.

Horner served as President of the Greater Knoxville Beautification Board and was on countless other boards that worked to make Knox County a better place to live.

In the business world, she retired from the South Central Bell Telephone Company and became a partner in Shopper Publications.

Horner has one son, Bobby, and several grandchildren.

Many in the community remember Horner for her firey spirit and dedicated work.

"I truly believe that she cared, and did the best job she could to help people -- not only in this district but all over Knox County," said former Knox County Executive Tommy Schumpert.

"If you wanted something done in her community, you better talk to her first," said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, who has known Horner most of his life.

"She understood the electoral process probably better than a lot of the folks did," he remembers. "These rookies would come in and be the 'flash in the pan,' and folks would talk about how they're going to beat her. And, they didn't."

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero also offered a statement by email Tuesday:

"I am deeply saddened to learn about the death of Mary Lou Horner, with whom I served on Knox County Commission. As one of the first two women to serve on County Court (now County Commission), she had a political savvy that served her constituents well. Mary Lou was selfless in giving her time and was dedicated to making our county a better place. May her family and all who knew her find comfort in the fact that she truly made a difference."

"I had an opportunity to serve with her about two years," said current Knox County Commissioner Mike Hammond, who remembers a woman passionate about her district and her constituents.

"She taught me the value of being out in the community, and seeing people and talking directly to people," he said.

Hammond considered Horner a mentor when he first entered county government, and respected her honesty and dedication to her work.

"You did not want to go up against her. If she was passionate about something, she would go to the mat to make sure it was approved."

Allison Teeters serves as the Executive Director of "Keep Knoxville Beautiful," an organization Horner helped build.

"She firmly believed in a cleaner, greener, more beautiful community, and we are so thankful to have had her as long as we did."

She was so proud of Knoxville, and wanted Knoxville to be the best it could be," Teeters said. "She was a true leader, and we have truly lost something great."

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