James E Horst

James E. Horst Sr. 89, passed away peacefully following a brief illness at the Health Care Center in Masonic Village, Elizabethtown on September 10, 2021.

Born in Lancaster, PA, he was the son of the late Elam Y. and Maude (Portner) Horst of RD1 Marietta. Jim was preceded in death by brothers, Lloyd Horst (husband of Elnora) of Elizabethtown, PA and Ben Horst (husband of Alice) of Noblesville, Indiana.

Jim grew up in the village of Chickentown near Maytown, PA, where he graduated from high school with the Class of 1949.  He was known for his good looks, great sense of humor, and passion for music.  At the age of 18, he fell in love and ran off to marry Bertha (Shireman) Horst in Winchester,VA on September 24, 1949.  They have been married nearly 72 years.

He attended Sunday School at Reich’s Church as a boy and reaffirmed his faith in God as an adult.

He served for 4 years in the US Navy Reserves, followed by additional time in the US Army and the US Army Reserves.  He worked for several automobile dealerships in PA and FL over the years to support a family of eight, before retiring as the Parts Department Manager at Autohaus Lancaster.  He resided with his family in East Petersburg, PA, and lived in Barstow, CA while serving as active duty in the military.

Jim was a self-taught musician, who became proficient in playing the acoustic, electric, and bass guitars. His part-time music career began in the 1950s, when Andy Reynolds invited him to become a member of the 101 Ranch Boys.  Over the years, he also joined additional local bands, such as the Four Guys, the Country Express, Harry Ranch and Company, the Whirlwinds, Shirley and the Keymen, Suzy Arden and the Roof Rockers, as well as the Nashville Sounds.  His stage name during his band days was Jim Hart.  As his music career developed, he performed at various local venues including Hershey Park and the Lancaster Liederkranz and distant locations such as, Iceland, Greenland, and Las Vegas to sing and play for a variety of audiences.  Two of his favorite claims to fame were filling in to play bass guitar with Willie Nelson in the 1960s and being cast as an extra in the film, The Greatest Story Ever Told in 1965.

In his spare time, Jim liked to hunt and was happy to just sit around a campfire with family and friends at his home-away-from-home in Potter County, PA.  He was a dedicated father who took his kids to drive-in movies, went camping in ME & MD state parks, and attended the NYC World’s Fair in 1964.  After retirement, Jim bought an RV and loved to go camping in Alaska and spend winters in Florida.

Jim was a member of Columbia Lodge No 286 F. & A. M., where he earned his 32 degree in 1996, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Elizabethtown Moose Lodge 596, and the Marietta American Legion Post 466.

In addition to his wife, Bertha, he is survived by sons, James E. Horst Jr. (V.Jean), Harold Horst (Assymola)  and daughters, Linda (Mervin) Garman, Bertha (Ken) Heisey, Debra (Rodney) Winkleman, and Nancy (Kevin) Smith, 17 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, 2 nieces and many extended family members. He was preceded in death by 2 grandsons and 1 great-grandson.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Masonic Village Hospice, 98 Masonic Drive, Suite 101, Elizabethtown, PA  17022.

A memorial service will be held at 3:00 pm on September 26 at Cross Roads Brethren in Christ Church, 800 Donegal Springs Road, Mt. Joy, PA..  Interment will take place at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Annville, PA at the convenience of the family.

Cremation Services of Lancaster  717-273-6283

Condolence Messages

  1. To the entire family of Jim I want to express my deepest sympathy with the passing of husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. May you find peace and comfort by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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