“On September 17, 2023, Charles “Chuck” Albert Horn III, of Denver, Colorado and Huddleston, Virginia, collapsed and passed suddenly from a heart attack while visiting family in Illinois. He was a quiet man of many talents. He brought confidence, intensity, and a competitive spirit to the task at hand, whether it was helping develop top-secret aerospace projects or devising strategies to keep squirrels off his bird feeders.
Chuck was born on Christmas Day in 1957 to Chuck and Marilyn Horn. Although quiet, Chuck was not shy and definitely not afraid. His four siblings have many stories about Chuck’s adventures as a curious and creative kid. At home in Deerfield, Illinois, he began his engineering career early by building a pair of wings to test out with his brother by jumping off the roof. He survived his early engineering projects and took his quiet confidence and smarts to Deerfield High, where he graduated as valedictorian in 1976, before attending West Point Academy.
Chuck studied engineering at West Point, where he graduated in the top of his class and competed on the gymnastics team. After spending several years in the Army Corp of Engineers, he moved to Lockheed Martin to do aerospace engineering. He spent his career at Lockheed Martin and famously refused to tell anyone what types of projects he worked on. Not even his kids knew.
As a Dad, he was a good provider, an instructor on life skills, and disciplined. He liked giving his kids opportunities. His Christian faith was important to him, and that faith carried him through all of life’s ups and downs.
He retired early and was able to pursue many of his interests. He was an outdoor survival guide and enjoyed climbing mountains, including Mount Kilimanjaro. He even convinced his sister to join him on some of his climbs. He was an enthusiastic and accomplished dancer and enjoyed the camaraderie and friendships he developed with the Denver Salsa Bachata Congress.
Chuck found ways to use his engineering skills in retirement. He designed and programmed a 3D-printed and cell phone app operated automatic french press coffee machine. It was far more complicated than just boiling water for a french press, but it was impressive nonetheless. He was the go-to problem solver for the family and enjoyed the challenge of new technologies. He had plans to include haptic gloves in his virtual reality set up to make it even more immersive.
With so many talents and interests, Chuck could have spent all his time pursuing those things, but he found something he enjoyed even more – being a Grandpa. He loved spending time with his two young grandsons and taking them out on the kayak. He kept their favorite candy on hand and was always ready to catch them with a hug when they ran to him. We can picture him in that posture as it was one of his last activities – playing with and holding his grandkids.
Chuck leaves behind his three children and two grandchildren: Jess Cook, Josh LaJoie, and Melanie Ackard (with sons Kaiden and Thomas). He is also survived by his beloved siblings: Marcia DeHaan, Doug Horn, Lisa Stecker, and Nancy Alling.
A graveside service will be held Saturday, October 7, 2023 at 2:00 p.m.
Tharp Funeral Home, Lynchburg is assisting the family.
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