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Celebrating the life of

Dean and Gloria Horstman

Passed away on April 05, 2024

Dean and Gloria Horstman

Gloria and Dean Horstman of Savannah, Ga., shared 69 years as husband and wife. She loved books. He loved computers before anyone knew to call him a “computer geek.” Most of all, they loved each other and their family, four sons who did them proud.

Gloria’s declining condition was taking its toll. On March 12, Dean visited his wife in the hospital. Seeing her in such a state left him frazzled. Driving himself home, he was involved in an automobile accident, suffering injuries too severe to overcome.

Gloria J. Horstman died on April 5, 2024. She was 91.

Dean Lewis Horstman died on April 8, 2024. He was 89.

Combining their obituaries is fitting. They embraced life together, until death three days apart became the final chapter of their story.

Gloria J. Horstman

One of her grandkids said Gloria Horstman didn’t have hobbies, she had passions. She not only loved books, she reviewed them for the hometown newspaper. She didn’t stop at being a PTA volunteer, she became school board president. She didn’t just watch the Summer Olympics when they came to town, she helped organize volunteers. She didn’t just love tea; she co-founded a tearoom.

In her own way, Gloria wasted nary a day. Whether raising a family, giving her all to those passions or quitting smoking and leaving a half pack around to prove she could resist temptation, she wrapped her arms around life. To quote her hometown newspaper, Gloria was “nothing if not forthright.”

It took her death to extinguish the flame.

Gloria was born (March 2, 1933) and raised in Atlanta. After graduating from North Avenue Presbyterian School, she enrolled at the University of Georgia, but financial limitations compelled her to drop out after one year. That was long enough to leave her mark. When a professor handed out the freshman syllabus, Gloria told him she’d already read every book on the list.

She went to work at her father’s engineering firm, where she exhibited more power over personnel than she probably deserved. She convinced her father to hire Dean Horstman, a student from nearby Emory University, not because there was a position for him but because she had an inkling about the guy. They were married on June 12, 1954, their journey of 69 years together taking them from one coast to another and back again.

In 1956, when their firstborn was two months old, they moved from Atlanta to Arcadia in southern California for Dean’s job with Southern Pacific Pipelines. Job No. 1 for Gloria was being a mom to four boys, and a strict one at that. A plaque over her desk quoting social activist Dorothy Canfield Fisher said it all: “A mother is not a person to lean on but a person to make leaning unnecessary.” Inspiring their sons’ independence – at some point, three lived in Europe and one in Hawaii – was among their proudest accomplishments. But not the only one. A strong believer in education, Gloria served nine years advocating for public schools on Arcadia’s school board, eventually becoming president. Being a book critic for The Pasadena Star-News meant she got to spend hours devouring great literature. She also got to keep the books she reviewed, which explains her mammoth collection of more than 10,000 volumes. Did we mention her gift for organization? She kept a list of every book she ever read. Her favorite (if she could truly have just one)? “Bleak House” by Charles Dickens.

Free time? Not for Gloria. When the Summer Olympics landed in nearby Los Angeles in 1984, she was head of volunteers for equestrian events at the famed horse racing track, Santa Anita Park. She was a good choice, having shown horses in the past.

After 38 years in California, Gloria yearned to return to her native South. The family moved to Savannah, Ga., in 1994, where Gloria unleashed that same energy on behalf of the city’s famed historic district. Among her contributions, she helped open The Tea Room, where residents and tourists gather for fine tea and conversation. She served as president of the Advisory Board of the Savannah Tour of Homes & Gardens. She loved the charm of Savannah, always inviting their children, grandchildren, and their friends to visit their home at historic Troup Square.

Gloria and Dean are survived by four sons – Walter Horstman (JoAnn) of Matthews, N.C., Hugh Horstman (Kim) of Mountain Green, Utah, Mark Horstman (fiancée Sarah) of Pebble Beach, Calif., and Adam Horstman (Piki) of Castle Rock, Colo.; 10 grandchildren – Kaye Horstman and Liza Horstman of New York City, Danielle Capilla (Craig) of Chicago, Cole Horstman of Bountiful, Utah, Kate Braun (Gary) of Austin, Tex., Travis Horstman of Fredericksburg, Tex., Drake Horstman of Dallas, Cameron (Edie) Horstman of Denver, Christer (Kaily) Wakefield of Carlsbad, Calif., and Sarah Horstman of Chicago. They are also survived by seven great-grandchildren – Zeke, Annabelle, Nolan, Wilson, Ellis, Connor and Finn.

Gloria was preceded in death by siblings Cissy Hall and Bobby Vinson.

Dean is survived by his sister, Mary Arrington of Rome, Ga. Preceding him in death were his brothers, Laurens Horstman and Walt Horstman, and his sister, Marguerite Horstman.

A service to celebrate Dean and Gloria’s lives will be on Thursday, May 30, at 1 p.m. at Independent Presbyterian Church, 207 Bull St., Savannah, Ga. Visitation follows at the church.

Gifts in Gloria and Dean’s memory can be made to Hospice Savannah (; the Live Oak Public Library at 2002 Bull Street, Savannah, Ga. 31401; or the Arcadia Public Library 20 W. Duarte Road, Arcadia, Ca. 91006.

The family is deeply grateful for the care and kindness shown by the staff and caregivers at Thrive on Skidaway senior living, caregivers of Hospice Savannah, doctors and nurses at St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital, and their friends in Savannah.

As we lift up their lives, their children agree that Mom and Dad had marriage figured out. Hers was the stronger personality. Dean, straightforward and a tad less outgoing, was content to master technology, take his boys on outdoor expeditions and mostly defer to Gloria on family matters. As the sons agreed in gathering notes for these obituaries, he “followed Mom wherever she went!”

It worked.

They visited all seven continents after the children were grown and out of the house. Her favorite place was England. His was Scotland, where his roots ran deep. Ever the organizer, she kept detailed files on each trip. When their grandkids were in high school, they took them on tours of universities they might want to attend. Yes, she kept files on those trips, too. When she came across a book she enjoyed, she’d mail it to a loved one and recommend (demand?) that they read it. As age set in, she enjoyed visiting with friends, watching mysteries on TV (the classy ones) and, of course, reading.

Passion. What a wonderful partner for life’s journey.

Dean Lewis Horstman

Dean Horstman had a gift for technology. He spent his entire career, 39 years, with Southern Pacific Pipelines, which pumped fuel across the southwestern United States. He eventually became the company’s first data processing manager.

Dean took computers seriously. But not always. The Horstman children wrote their Christmas wish list (from the Sears catalog) on used punch cards Dad brought home from the office. When he spoke about IT in his son Mark’s math class, he cracked the kids up (or tried to). “Did a bit byte you?” he’d ask them. “Yes, a byte bit me!”

That was Dean. Whether making software jokes, packing his family into the car for cross-country trips or working with the Slovakian Olympic sailing team, he made life fulfilling and fun.

The fourth of five siblings, Dean was born (Nov. 2, 1934) in New Orleans and moved with his family to Atlanta before high school. He graduated from Druid Hills High School and Emory University in Atlanta, where in 1955 he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Math. Two weeks later, married with a two-month-old, Dean and Gloria moved from Atlanta to Arcadia in southern California for his job with Southern Pacific Pipelines. The low pay and no moving allowance meant he had to convince Gloria this was a wise career move. It was. He looked back with pride at that adventure – traveling cross-country, raising a family, spending his entire career with one company and building a very good life. All that and he still found time to earn a Master’s in Business Administration from nearby Pepperdine University. And to have breakfast and dinner with his family every day.

During their 38 years in California, Dean served as president of the Arcadia High School Booster club, coached in the West Arcadia Little League and was Cubmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster of his son’s troops. With three sons and a gaggle of Boy Scouts he climbed California’s Mount Whitney (14,505 feet). He took two sons on a 50-mile hike in the Sierra Nevada mountains that included freezing rain and a rockslide. Every few years he’d load his family into their car (most trips in a Ford station wagon) and drive from Los Angeles to Social Circle, Ga. – five days each way – to visit his family on their farm. There they’d bale hay and tend to cattle.

The Horstmans moved back to their native South in 1994, settling in Savannah, Ga., and picking up where they left off.

Woodworker Dean helped restore part of the old home they purchased. He served as board president of the Chatham County Public Library. He celebrated his Scottish heritage through the St. Andrews Society of Savannah. He volunteered to help at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and was assigned to help the Slovakian Olympic Sailing Team. He even joined the team on the field during the Opening Ceremonies.

Long after the boys had set out on their own, Dean gathered multiple generations of their family every few summers on St. Simons Island. The last one was a decade ago. What a blessing, Dean and Gloria, surrounded by 15 to 20 loved ones, celebrating the journey that began long ago and ended three days apart. Here on the Georgia coast is where Dean and Gloria honeymooned. Here is where their ashes will be spread.

The family is in the care of Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors. Online condolences can be expressed at





I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your parents but just know they were very much enjoyed in Troup Square at the Wednesday happy hours! I know they loved their family, friends and living in Savannah! You were so lucky in having them in your life for so long and we that knew them will celebrate their lives and be happy we knew them too!

- Susan Gorecki, Savannah, GA

Services under the direction of:

Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel