All writing is a form of prayer - John Keats

Friday, November 26, 2021

RIP, Jerry Horne! We'll meet again!

I suspect that Jerry Horne, Maurice Carter and Jesus are yucking it up, today. Probably chuckling over the Lord’s stories about the rich and the poor, and the complicated path to heaven. 

Jerry joined the party yesterday. 

Newlyweds Jerry and Dee Horne came to Holland, Michigan, in the 1960s. He and I worked together at Radio Station WJBL. It soon became clear, however, that this couple were headed for bigger things. Their combined prowess led them down an entrepreneurial path that took them into different and highly successful circles. We didn’t see each other again for decades. 

There was little likelihood that our paths would ever cross again. Our income brackets were at opposite extremes, as were our politics, and even some of our religious views. But an indigent black man from Gary, Indiana, changed all of that. 

Jerry read about my efforts to help a wrongly convicted prisoner named Maurice Carter. The story was making headlines in the Grand Rapids Press on a rather consistent basis around the turn of the century. And that’s when I learned a lot about this rich man. He not only had a pot of gold, but he had a heart of gold...and it especially leaned toward the less fortunate. 

Jerry Horne loved Maurice Carter, and it was his luxurious motor home that provided transportation from prison to a welcoming reception in July, 2004. Maurice lived for only 3 months after that momentous occasion, but Jerry’s love and support for the ideas of Maurice never waned. 

When I opted to go full-time into the prisoner advocacy business, it was Jerry and Dee who provided free office space in the Manpower Building in Muskegon. 

When many people thought I was dying from a staph infection in 2010, and an exciting new stage play about Maurice and me opened in Toronto, Jerry arranged for a private jet, piloted by his son, to take Marcia and me to the event. 

During the early years of this prisoner business, when times were lean, Jerry and Dee would roll out the red carpet. Marcia and I would get luxurious Florida lodging, transportation and living expense for a week! 

We’ve watched in sadness over the past ten years as Jerry battled dementia. 

That fight ended on Thanksgiving Day. May his family and loved ones feel God’s presence and his peace. 

And there is great cause for rejoicing. Jerry not only has a new body, today. He has a new mind!



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