Cecil Raymond Hornsby

Published 1:10 am Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cecil Hornsby, age 88, died peacefully in his sleep Friday, Aug. 12, 2011, at Cullman Regional Medical Center in Cullman, Ala.

Cecil Hornsby

He was born in Atlanta, Ga., on April 5, 1923, son of the late David and Kareen Trapp Hornsby. He was a staff sergeant in the United States Army during World War II, serving as an advance artillery scout in Europe and North Africa from 1940 to 1945.

During his military tenure, Cecil married Cullman girl Wilma Iris Lassetter on a Thanksgiving weekend furlough, Nov. 26, 1943, and returned to fulfill his service, honorably discharged Aug. 14, 1945. He and his wife resided in Cullman for a time before moving to Birmingham, Ala.

Orphaned during his teen years, Cecil was raised by his grandmother. Growing up on the streets of Atlanta during the Great Depression made him an industrious individual from an early age. His vivid boyhood Depression stories, including how he creatively earned money by hiring friends to sit in front row movie house seats, then reselling those prime seats at a premium to interested moviegoers before the management ran them off, are legendary!

Cecil became interested in opticianry and engaged himself as an optical apprentice prior to entering the Army. He continued his optical interests post war, continuing to apprentice and network through the 1950’s and late 1960’s … becoming a person of growing interest to key optical entities like Coburn Optical Industries in Oklahoma.

His optical industry connections provided upward career mobility. Given the choice to relocate from Birmingham to either Oklahoma or Miami, Fla., Cecil chose the healthier lifestyle of burgeoning South Florida for his family, managing Cobb Optical Lab in Miami through the early 1970’s. When Cobb would not make Cecil a partner, he struck out on his own to open C-Rite Optical Lab in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The lab thrived to branch out as companion optical fitting centers for several optometric practices in South Florida.

In 1990, Cecil and Wilma moved back to Cullman to assist with the elder care of the late Mamie Hill Lassetter and Fred Guy Lassetter, and in whose home they have resided until present day.

Cecil is survived by his spouse of 68 years, Wilma Lassetter Hornsby; daughters Patricia Hornsby Lewis (Raymond Lewis) and Cecilia Hornsby Prokos (Christ Prokos); son-in-law Chris Petras; grandchildren Kristi Petras Glisson (Mark Glisson), Allen Petras, Tiffany Alley (David Pollard), Mark Anderson and Katina Prokos; and great-grandson Zander Dune Pollard. Other surviving family includes sister-in-law Charlotte Lassetter Rudolph Dunlap and her children Vicky Lynn Rudolph Lawrence (Charles Lawrence) and James Edward Dunlap (Mariann).

His eldest daughter, Janice Hornsby Petras, predeceased Cecil in 2002.

Cecil was a man who could do practically anything. He was an avid woodworker and furniture maker by hobby. He enjoyed his beautifully landscaped yard and his tobacco pipe.

A viewing for family and friends will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Moss Funeral Home in Cullman. A graveside service with military honors will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at Cullman City Cemetery. The family will receive friends following the service at the Hornsby home.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made in Cecil’s name to the Cullman Regional Medical Center Foundation at 256-737-2565 or via e-mail to crmcfoundation@crmchospital.com.

Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.mossservicefh.com.

Moss Funeral Home of Cullman is honored to serve the Hornsby family