Last night I attended a gathering of grieving
friends of Chris and Mandy Horne,
where with a late rally and no small effort the laughs
outnumbered the tears.
The consensus was that any sort of public
memorial service for Chris in Jackson Hole will have to wait
weeks, possibly months, until Mandy is able to travel and their
families deem the time is right.
Among the many recollections shared about Chris:
“He was fiercely intelligent, yet humble.”
“He spent his time here changing kids’ lives.”
And, from a friend’s father: When
the shit hits the fan, I want Chris Horne with me.”
Chris was remembered as a
passionate educator with a knack for connecting with kids.
But he also was recalled as a motorcycle-riding
free spirit who could dominate a party with his costume.
Journeys School colleagues painted a fuller portrait of the
man I had known for only three years. Chris and I were
neighbors. As first-time homeowners, we had helped one another
and enjoyed some fine times together on the water, too.
I gained an appreciation for his work as a
teacher. He had gone to Japan last year on a Fulbright program;
he was one of 200 educators nationwide chosen to participate,
and he and Kathleen Crowley of
Jackson Hole Community School were the only two to represent
He already had made an impact at his new school,
Summit Charter School in rural Cashiers, N.C. Even as he
relaxed on a beach in Mexico with friends, he talked of ways to
better integrate environmental education through a teacher
exchange program between Journeys and Summit.
Among the many ways in which friends pledged to
remember him, this spring homeowners in the
Housing Trust’s Arbor Place neighborhood
will plant a tree in his honor, and there will be a Chris Horne
memorial float trip/jamboree on the Hoback, Snake or Greys
rivers come summer.
Any inquiries about a memorial service should be
made to Nate McClennen,
headmaster of Journeys School.
Knowing Chris, listening to his friends talk
about him and reading the comments posted on these pages, I am
left with one overriding impression: The man sowed love wherever
he went, and that’s the highest compliment I could pay him.