Horner S. Williams was born on May 7, 1933, in Henderson, N.C. His loving parents were Lee Jasper Williams and Polly Levister Williams. His early childhood was spent in Red Bank, NJ, where he attended public schools with his six brothers and sisters. At the age of 11, he began working at Seldin’s Jewelry Store on Broad Street in Red Bank polishing silver, refilling lighters, and repairing eyeglass frames. He attended Red Bank High School where he especially enjoyed participating in the photo club. He graduated in 1950 and served in the US Army, stationed in Louisiana, during the Korean War. In 1957, he married his high school sweetheart, Julia Terry, and they settled in Fair Haven right next door to Julia’s mother, Dorothy Terry. That same year, Horner opened his own store, Monmouth Jewelry Service which later became Horner Williams Custom Jewelers - a mainstay in Red Bank for over 40 years. As a Gemologist, Goldsmith, Jewelry Designer, and Watchmaker, Horner had the artistic ability and technical skill to design and create any piece you could imagine. He was greatly respected throughout the state for his talent and craftsmanship. He served as President of the New Jersey Retail Jewelers Association and held other positions in that organization as well. He loved decorating his store for the seasons and was a proud winner of the Bulova Window Display contest and the Speidel Sweepstakes Award in 1970.
Horner sought to educate himself in many areas of interest. Through the Gemological Institute of America, he became a Graduate Gemologist. He attended New York University extension classes in Business Management, and he graduated from the Monmouth Bible Institute. He was also a Certified Reflexologist and a Success Counselor.
Horner was a lifelong member of Pilgrim Baptist Church in Red Bank where he served as the Sunday School Superintendent. He was a man of great faith, and in 2011, he was honored to be given the title of Minister Emeritus by the church.
Horner and Julia had two children - Dorothy Melissa and Horner Steven. They raised their children in Fair Haven, and working in the store was a family affair. Outside of work, Horner had many interests including tennis, snow skiing, horseback riding, world history, reading, writing, and cooking. He was involved in many professional and social organizations including Jewelers of America, The Rotary Club, and The Red Bank Men’s Club. As a Mason, he was a member of Celestial Lodge 36 in Red Bank. He served on the Board of the Red Bank YMCA for a number of years and was a dedicated volunteer at Lunch Break for decades. He even led a prayer group and counseled residents in his nursing home.
Horner loved visiting with his family and always had a story, a lesson, or a joke to share. He touched many people throughout his life through his store, his community service, his church work, Reflexology, counseling services, and more. He died on December 31, 2021, at the age of 88.
Horner was predeceased by his beloved wife of 29 years, Julia Terry Williams, his parents Lee Jasper and Polly Williams, and his brothers McCormick, Otis, and Thomas Williams. He is survived by his children Dorothy Melissa of Fair Haven, and Horner Steven and his wife Sira of Red Bank; His sisters Ethel Palmer of Red Bank, Almentia Williams of Eatontown, and Edith Battle of Neptune; His sister-in-law Rita Williams of Neptune; His grandchildren Joshua, Arianna, Cameron, Kayla, Julia, and Maya; his Godchildren Ronald Williams, Bonita Williams and Betra Rodriguez, and a host of other family members and friends who will miss his strong spirit, bright eyes, and infectious laugh.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, January 15, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. at Pilgrim Baptist Church, 172 Shrewsbury Ave, Red Bank, NJ. Covid protocols will be strictly followed. The service will also be live streamed on pilgrim-baptist.org. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Pilgrim Baptist Church, Lunch Break, or the YMCA in his memory.
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