Benjamin S. Horack Sr.
1917 - 2019
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Mr. Benj. S. Horack Sr., 101, of Charlotte, died on Friday, May 3, 2019. He was the youngest of the three children of the late H. Claude and Eleanor M. Horack and was born in Iowa City, Iowa, where his father of Professor of Law at the State University of Iowa. In 1930, when he was 12, his family moved to Durham, NC, where his father joined the faculty of the Duke Law School and served as its Dean for 13 years.

Growing up in Durham, Ben met the former Frances Borland. After a 7-year courtship, they were married for 66 years. Frances ("Sassy") was the only girl he ever dated - a 73-year love affair that began in Durham High School when he was a Senior and she a Junior and continued until she died September 8, 2007. At Durham High, he was Vice-President of the Freshman Class, President of the Sophomore and Junior Classes and, in his Senior year, President of the Student Body, Editor-in-Chief of the high school paper, and recipient of the Leadership and Scholarship Award.

Ben received his undergraduate degree from Duke (AB 1939 - a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity; Phi Beta Kappa; graduated Magna Cum Laude in 3 years) and his law degree from Duke Law School (LLB 1941 - Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review, Duke Bar Ass'n Journal; Order of the Coif, the Law School equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa; ranked 1st or 2nd in his Class during each of his Law School years). After Law School, he practiced law with an Atlanta firm and, for a short time, with the Government in Washington, D.C., until he joined the Army. At the termination of his WWII Army service in May 1946, he came to Horack, Talley, Pharr and Lowndes. He retired from the firm in November 1985 and on July 1, 1987, with his wife Frances ("Sassy") moved to the Southminster Retirement Community in Charlotte, where he organized the Residents Association and Council and was its "Mayor" for 3 terms. Ben resided at Southminster for 31 years.

The practice of Ben's Law Firm covers most of the established specialties. A large part of his personal practice focused on real estate; wills, trust and estates; corporate and business law; taxes and zoning. Ben's zoning expertise was in much demand and he was often referred to locally as the "Dean of Zoning." Ben was active in many facets of the Charlotte Community and was president or other officer of over 20 civic, charitable and social organizations, including the 1st President of WTVI, President of Mecklenburg Kiwanis, Deacon and Elder of Trinity Presbyterian Church, President of Travelers Aid, Chairman of Charlotte Senior Forum and Trustee of Queens College. He served as President of the Charlotte - Mecklenburg Bar Ass'n in 1967-1968.

He was a member of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board for 10 years (1953-1962). During his tenure, the City and County Schools were consolidated, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg had the distinction of being the first public school system in the South to integrate. After retirement from the School Board, together with co-counsel, Ben represented the School Board in the landmark school busing case (Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education), which he argued before the Supreme Court of the United States.

He often expressed his gratitude for all the good times and advantages he had since early childhood: Loving parents and siblings, growing up in a college community (Universities of Iowa and Duke), extensive travels in the U.S. and abroad, summers at a Boys' Camp in the NC Mountains, 73 years of courtship and marriage with his high school sweet heart "Sassy" (a beauty queen at Duke and the love of his life), a wonderful family, great law colleagues (Partners, Associates & Staff), and a host of friends.

Ben had a multitude of interests - many of which he attributed to having been a dedicated Boy Scout (camping, nature studies, bird watching, Indian lore, gardening, etc.). When he became an Eagle Scout at age 14, he was the youngest Eagle in the State of North Carolina. He enjoyed duck and dove hunting with a group of kindred spirits. In retirement at Southminster, he did some woodworking and became a proficient oil painter (about 80 paintings). He produced 3 volumes of his Memoirs and extensively wrote poetry that earned him the honorary title of "Southminster's Poet Laureate." He participated in many of its activities. Ben described himself as a "Jack of All Trades & Master of None." When asked what he did before retirement, Ben would reply (with tongue in cheek): "I never amounted to anything - because I didn't play golf or bridge!"

Ben's wife Frances ("Sassy") and one of his 3 sons, Thomas B. Horack, Sr. predeceased him. Survivors include his other 2 sons and his 3 daughters-in-law, Benj. S. Horack, Jr. and wife, Barbara of Lake Wylie, NC, Thom's wife, Sonia of Davidson, NC, and Douglas M. Horack and wife, Donna of Seabrook Island, SC; 6 grandchildren, Benj. S. Horack III (wife Pamela), Jeanne H. Davis (husband Derek), Thomas B. Horack, Jr. (wife Amy), William S. Horack, Scott M. Horack (wife Roxanne), and Reagan H. Koski (husband Geoffrey); and 11 great-grandchildren, Donald, Kevin, Parker, Trevor, Ashton, Zoe, Briggs, Grayson, Scarlett, Reid, and Mason.

Services will be held 11:00AM Saturday, May 11, 2019 at Southminster Retirement Community, 8919 Park Rd., Charlotte, NC. A reception will be held at Southminster immediately following the services. Complimentary valet parking will be available at the main entrance of Southminster from 10:30-2:30.

Memorials may be made to the H. Claude Horack Scholarship Fund c/o Duke Law School, Science Dr. & Towerview Rd., Box 90389 Durham, NC 27708-0389; and Southminster Foundation, 8919 Park Rd., Charlotte, NC 28210.

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Published in Charlotte Observer on May 8, 2019.