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Bill Kirby Jr.: Empty Seat at the Bar...


You’ll find an empty seat at the bar, where Reid Horne liked his glass of red wine and conversation with friends John Wilson, Ron Brewington and just about anybody else who passed Reid Horne’s way.

This was his chair, the one just by the wait station leading into Chris’s Steak House & Seaford Restaurant’s main dining room with the red-brick hearth, and where Reid Horne knew everybody, and everybody knew the retired banking executive with the quiet way.

“Whatever you learned or have seen from Reid Horne,” the Rev. Sandy Saunders reminded those who gathered near the mahogany coffin on this sunny Jan. 12 afternoon at the Johnson-Brock Family Cemetery not so far from where Reid Horne came from down East Fayetteville way, “put into practice what you saw in him.”

He was of kind heart.
He was of good nature.
He was of good soul.

Reid Horne was just that way, one of two sons born to the late Garland Eugene and Cherry Brock Horne on Cedar Creek Road, where Garland Horne was a meat salesman Horne was in the last graduating Class of 1969 at Stedman High School before enrolling at Methodist University to study business that would lead to a 43-year banking career as a commercial loan officer ending with BB&T Bank.

John Wilson, left, Reid Horne and Greg Kalevas celebrate Reid Horne’s 69th birthday on Nov. 11, 2020, at Chris’s Steak House & Seaford restaurant. (Contributed photo) Reid Anthony Horne died Jan. 8, 2021. and Cherry Horne worked in the county Register of Deeds office for what seemed like forever. The family later moved to the ranch-style home in Vander.[/caption]

“Always friendly, charming and positive,” William Brooks, then the bank’s city executive, said when Horne retired in 2017. “And people like dealing with him.”
He wasn’t just a banker.

“Old school,” Brooks said, “who knew serving on nonprofit boards and being involved in the community was good for the boards, and the banker.”

Horne served as president of the Cape Fear Kiwanis Club, the Exchange Club of Fayetteville, the Highlands Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Arts Council of Fayetteville-Cumberland County. He was on the Methodist University Foundation board of directors and the Fayetteville Area Chamber, too.

He had a calming demeanor.

Banking clients and community clubs and organizations were secure in knowing Reid Horne was there.

“Just waiting to turn in my keys,” Horne said on that last day at BB&T along Morganton Road.

He welcomed more time with his grown sons with families of their own. They were his pride. They were his joy. They were the sons he loved and admired for the husbands and fathers and men they became.

A Father’s Lessons
“If any of you knew my dad, he did not wear a whole lot on his sleeve,” Dr. Christopher Horne said. “But he shared a lot with Bryan and me. There were several things Dad told us throughout our lives. One of the first that comes to mind was that Dad taught us how to be good husbands.”
Bryan Horne acknowledged his brother’s words.
“It’s rare this day and age to have divorced parents get along as well as ours did, but Dad loved our Mom unconditionally,” Bryan Horne said. “Dad would sometimes fight back some of the words he wanted to say, but he loved my brother and me, and we can’t thank him enough for that. Who we are, the wives we have and the children we have is testament to the father he was to us.”

Bryan Horne says he and his brother will miss the fly-fishing days with their father and just being with him – a father and sons together, and “quiet drives along country roads.” And old friends will miss Reid Horne’s presence at Chris’s Steak & Seafood restaurant, where he had that third seat for his evening glass of red wine and conversation with those who would stop just to say hello.

‘We All Loved Him’
Around half past eight on most any given night, and Reid Horne was there at Chris’s with old pal John Wilson near, and John Wilson sipping on a cold beer and a bowl of vegetable soup. And Ron Brewington always had a story to tell, and restaurant owner Greg Kalevas, too.

“Well, Reid, I see you’re wearing that ugly green sweater again,” I’d say, and Reid Horne would give that sheepish grin like only Reid Horne could.

Reid Anthony Horne died Jan. 8, 2021.
He was 69.

Paula Smith gently placed her hand on the mahogany coffin, and softly patted the casket in solemn remembrance.

“Reid and I were always there for each other when we needed to be,” she said. “He was there for me when my mama died, and I was there for him when Mama Horne died. I can’t understand why people who divorce can’t be on the same page and be civil to one another. He was as steady as they come, and always had that twinkle in his pretty blue eyes.”

She gave thought to the sons they shared.

“Christopher and Bryan’s hearts are broken,” Paula Smith said. “People may not understand, but look at what he gave me in the gifts of two wonderful sons. We all loved him in our own way.”

And if you ever knew Reid Horne, this man of kind heart and good nature and good soul, you surely would say so, too.

Contact Bill Kirby Jr. at 910-624-1961 or bkirby@cityviewnc.com. Read more of his columns in our weekly Insider Newsletter. Subscribe at cityviewnc.com or text CityView to 22999.