Don Horine was a man of many passions.
Tennis. Writing. Bagpipes.
Then there were his two sons, Jay and Jeff. And Darlene, his wife and caretaker of his last years.
Mr. Horine, a former editorial writer, columnist and reporter for The Palm Beach Post, died Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, in West Palm Beach of complications from dementia. He was 82.
"He was always an optimist," son Jeff said. "He was always looking for a happy outcome."
Dementia doesn’t leave many happy outcomes, but Darlene, his wife of 19 years, said she tried to make the best of it since his diagnosis in 2012. Every day when they woke up, she said she would quiz him on his name, birth date and what day it was, and played games with him to "keep his mind going."
"He just kept his sense of humor to the end," she said. "He always had a smile on his face. He never complained, he never raised his voice. He just smiled all the time."
Mr. Horine met his second wife through the Palm Beach Pipes and Drums in 1999, a bagpipe and drum corps. They marched together at events, including the Orange Bowl Parade.
Donald David Horine was born May 6, 1937, in Portland, Ore. His father died when he was 6 years old. His mother remarried and he took the last name of his stepfather.
He played on his high school baseball team, but his true early love was writing, son Jeff said.
"He was always a newspaper guy," Jeff Horine added.
He convinced the editor of the Oregonian newspaper to allow him to write a high school column for the paper while he was still in high school. Mr. Horine went on to get bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern University.
He was a veteran of the U.S. Army serving in Okinawa, Japan, as a writer for the Stars and Stripes military newspaper. He also taught college journalism at Lehigh and Cal State Los Angeles, and was a city editor at the Los Angeles Times. He interviewed Elvis Presley twice, son Jeff fondly remembers.
He moved to Florida in 1976 when the owner of the National Enquirer, Generoso Pope, lured him to Lantana to be one of the associate editors. He then joined the Evening Times, and later its sister paper, The Palm Beach Post, as an editorial writer, columnist and finally a higher education writer before retiring in 1999.
Former Palm Beach Post Editor Edward Sears fondly recalled the years he spent with Mr. Horine.
"Don Horine was a mainstay of the Evening Times before joining The Post," he said. "He did many things well as a reporter, but was at his best on the education beat. He also let off steam, occasionally at the paper, by playing some mean bagpipes."
Mr. Horine was one of the leaders of a group of Post employees, including Sears and recently deceased columnist Ron Wiggins, who loved to play tennis.
"He really took up tennis when my brother and I were old enough to do it as a family activity," Jeff Horine said.
His late-in-life passion was learning to play the bagpipes, seizing upon his birth father’s ancestry.
"He really embraced going back to the roots of his Scottish heritage," Jeff Horine said. "My dad was a ham. He just loved being the center of attention."
Playing bagpipes makes you the center of attention, he said, laughing.
Darlene Horine recalls first meeting Don at a Pipes and Drums meeting, when she joined to learn to play the drums, and how it was love at first sight.
"I waited my whole life for this man," she said. "He truly was the love of my life."
Mr. Horine is survived by his wife Darlene; sons Jay Horine (Keturah) and Jeff Horine (Melissa); stepdaughter Melissa Monaghan (Mark); seven grandchildren; brother Doug Horine; and sisters Kathy Henwood, Julie Edmister, Diane Small, Sandra Tagliavento and Susan Gosch. His ex-wife, Sharon Horine, lives in West Palm Beach. He was preceded in death by his sister, Nancy Wells Moulton.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Tillman Funeral Home and Crematory, 2170 S. Military Trail, West Palm Beach. The family will receive guests there beginning at noon. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made in support of Alzheimer’s and dementia research in Don Horine’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association at https://act.alz.org.