Tuesday, January 31, 2023

‘Service before self’: Williamsburg education, equality champion Lois S. Hornsby dies at 92

(WYDaily/Courtesy of Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools official Facebook page)
(WYDaily/Courtesy of Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools official Facebook page)

Williamsburg is mourning the loss of Lois Saunier Hornsby, a woman who championed education, equality, and diversity.

Lois, the mother of  musician Bruce Hornsby, died peacefully at her home in Williamsburg on Wednesday, according to her obituary.

She was 92.

“She poured her soul into the causes of public education, racial reconciliation, and the arts, and spent much of her personal time in a ministry of healing prayer for those requesting it, according to her obituary.

Throughout her life she championed education, equality, justice and chaired numerous PTA councils and was directly involved in minority teacher recruitment for the Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools. She was a founding member of All Together Williamsburg, a community organization bridging racial, ethnic, and cultural lines.

Lois S. Hornsby Middle School in Williamsburg was named for her in 2010.

“Mrs. Hornsby was a role model for our students, an advocate for equity, and a compassionate supporter of our school,” said Jessica Ellison, principal of Hornsby Middle School. “Her legacy of service and respect for others will live on at our school and in the hearts of all who learn and work at Lois S. Hornsby Middle School.”

Throughout her 92 years, Hornsby’s “actions were led by faith and her commitment to making her community a better place for all people, young and old,” according to a statement from WJCC Public Schools.

For 20 years she worked with her husband Bob counseling students at William & Mary as advisers to the Christian Science college organization. They hosted many foreign students from the countries of Chile, Argentina, Sweden and Japan. Their children cite this hospitality as one of the most enriching parts of their lives.

“On behalf of the school board and the entire WJCC Schools family, I would like to offer our heartfelt sympathy to the Hornsby family,” said WJCC School Board Chairwoman Lisa Ownby in a prepared statement. “Lois S. Hornsby was an unwavering advocate for public education and the arts in our community. She personified the motto ‘service before self,’ and we are all deeply saddened by her passing. We are proud that one of our schools bears the name of this great woman and we remain committed to the issues of equality, bridging racial gaps, and the recruitment of minority teachers that Mrs. Hornsby championed throughout her life.”

Hornsby is survived by her sons and their wives:  Bobby and Ann of Williamsburg, Bruce and Kathy of Williamsburg, and Jonathan and Paige of Charlottesville.  She is also survived by seven grandchildren and a great grandchild named for her.

John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzohttp://wydaily.com
John Mangalonzo (john@localdailymedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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