Charlie "Trader" Horn
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A memorial service will be held to honor the life of Charles Horn on Thursday, February 28, at 3:00 PM at Wheeler Mortuary. The family requests that donations be made to the
or the USO in Charlie's memory.
Charles Raymond Horn of Portales passed away suddenly in Albuquerque on Friday, February 22, 2013. Charlie was born on April 10, 1930, in Kankakee, IL to Arthur and Mamie Horn. He was one of 9 children-6 boys and 3 girls.
Charlie loved to play high school football and his team won the state championship his senior year. He attributed his love for football with keeping him in school long enough to graduate. After high school, Charlie enlisted in the Air Force in 1948 and was stationed at Williams Air Force Base in Chandler, Arizona. He met the love of his life, 2 years later, and married Norma Burton on June 1, 1951 in Coolidge, Arizona at the Church of Christ. During his twelve-year Air Force career, Charlie served at four different Air Force bases, achieving an enlisted rank of tech sergeant. He served in Korea in 1956-1957, and was transferred to Cannon Air Force Base area with his wife and 3 daughters in 1957. He and Norma had two more children in Portales for a total of five children, born in 4 different states. In 1960, Charlie decided to leave the Air Force and start a business of his own with $900 he had saved from his Air Force service pay. Charlie and Norma's first business, the Portales Bargain Store, was located near the current farmers market behind the Portales Chamber of Commerce. The beginning was tough at times but Charlie enjoyed every minute of his new venture.
After several years, the Portales Bargain store, was relocated to 700 South Avenue C and renamed Surplus City. Charlie traveled across the southwest buying military and commercial surplus stock, and hauling it to his new store. "Old timers" still talk about how much fun it was to go to Surplus City, and find anything from military ammo boxes, an airplane cockpit, army blankets, uniforms, canteens, caskets, and maybe even a kitchen sink. Eventually Surplus City became Trader Horn's True Value Hardware and continues to be a successful business in Portales under the ownership of Max and June Merrick family.
Later, Charlie purchased the Plymouth & Dodge auto dealership and began buying farmland. He purchased the Cox pony farm on the Arch highway and loved working with the whole family. Eventually, he accumulated many acres of land and managed a large farming operation. In 2008, at age 77, Charlie sold most of his farmland and equipment, but wasn't ready to retire. Until his death, he was very active in various business activities, involving real estate, farming, surplus sales and investing in the stock market. Charlie saw opportunity all around him and was always optimistic. He never cared much about material possessions but found joy and fun in making the most out of business opportunities.
Charlie is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Norma Jane Horn and 6 children and their spouses, 12 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. His children are Jacqueline (Pat) Burns, Jane (Scott) Christensen, June (Max) Merrick, Danny Horn (Marilyn Aguirri) and Patty Horn (Doug Schucker), and Raymond Nolan. His grandchildren are Jennifer (Lance) Blount, Rebecca Burns, Eddie (Ashley) Burns, Amelia Christensen, Chris Christensen, Megan (Bobby) Hamilton, Cassidy (Rustin) Self, Robert Horn, LaNiece Horn, Nick and Nathan Nolen, and adopted foreign-exchange student Mark van Niewwkoop. Seven great grandchildren: Hannah, Sarah, and Jonathan Blount, Blair and Lilly Hamilton, Kaylee Horn and Chloe Horn. He is also survived by his brother, Richard Horn of Portales and sister, Ida Coty of Bradley, Illinois. Deceased family members include his father and mother, 4 brothers, Kenneth, Leslie, Howard, and Robert Horn and two sisters, Alvina Zilm and Opal Bisaillon.
Arrangements are under the direction of Wheeler Mortuary of Portales. 575-356-4455, wheelermortuary.net
Published in the Clovis News Journal and Portales News-Tribune on Feb. 26, 2013