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Robert Gene Horner

Posted October 08, 2014 in Obituaries, West Des Moines

December 21, 1931 – October 6, 2014

Robert Horner

Robert Horner

Robert “Bobby” Gene Horner passed away peacefully on October 6, 2014, with family, friends and his devoted wife, Sheri Sarcone Avis Horner, by his side. He will be greatly missed by all who were touched by his passion for life and compassion for others.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, October 10, at St. Augustin Catholic Church in Des Moines, where he was a member. There will be a lunch immediately following the service in the Church Hall. A private committal service for the family will be held at Glendale Cemetery.

Bobby was born on December 21, 1931, in Friend, Nebraska. He graduated from Atkinson High School in Atkinson, Nebraska, and served in the United States Navy. He attended the University of Nebraska before going into road construction, where he achieved industry recognition and business success.

Sheri and Bobby married after being introduced by common friends and would have celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary this coming January.

An oft-described work-a-holic, Bobby acquired Des Moines Asphalt and Paving Company from his friend, Robert Kenyon. He grew the company 10-fold before selling it to Ireland-based Old Castle. At the pinnacle of his career, he received the nationally prestigious Sheldon G. Hayes Award for “exhibiting exemplary quality” in highway paving.

Never one to forget the importance of giving back, Bobby established the Robert & Sheri Horner/Des Moines Asphalt & Paving Co. Scholarship, which is awarded to civil and construction engineering students attending Iowa’s regent universities as well as Des Moines Area Community College. He often received letters of gratitude for this generosity, which he would carry with him, touched that he made a difference in the lives of young students.

Bobby’s generosity went well beyond scholarships. He used his success to support local colleges, hospitals and many charities as well as the Iowa State Fair. He supplied paving services for the fairgrounds and contributed funds for the Robert G. and Sheri Avis Horner Service Center.

Upon retirement, Bobby delighted in a wide variety of hobbies including golf, fishing, traveling, fitness, cooking and entertaining. He was one of the original founders of Glen Oaks Country Club in West Des Moines, and belonged to Desert Mountain and Silverleaf in Scottsdale, Arizona. He also formerly belonged to Roaring Fork Club in Aspen, Colorado.

He was a generous contributor and past member of the board of directors of the DMACC Foundation and a member of the Royal Jesters Court 46, Scottish Rite and Shriners International. Professionally, Bobby was a member of the National Asphalt and Paving Association.

Bobby battled Parkinson’s disease and was supported over the past five years in their home by many wonderful nurses and aides who love and cared for him. Sheri and family convey special heart-felt to thanks each of them. They also want to extend their deep appreciation to the staff members at Arbor Springs for their excellent care of Bobby over the past four months.

A life lived with zeal, integrity and kindness, Bobby leaves behind his wife, Sheri of West Des Moines, Iowa; daughter, Lisa Horner of Omaha, Nebraska; son, John Horner of Sioux City, Iowa; grandson, John C. Horner of Sioux City, Iowa; stepsons, Randy (Lori) Avis of Woodward, Iowa and Jim (Connie) Avis of Granger, Iowa; step-grandsons, Travis Avis of Granger, Iowa and Justin Avis of Woodward, Iowa; sister-in-law, Toni (Dave) Martin of Stillwater, Oklahoma and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be directed to DMACC Foundation, Robert G. Horner Scholarship, 2006 S. Ankeny Blvd., Building 22, Ankeny, Iowa 50023 or Blank Children’s Hospital, 1200 Pleasant St., Des Moines, Iowa 50309.


Information provided by:
Iles Funeral Homes
Dunn’s Chapel
2121 Grand Ave
Des Moines, IA 50312

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