Jan. 7, 1936 — Jan. 24, 2017
Sally Lewis Horner passed away quietly after a 10-year struggle with dementia, surrounded by her family, on Jan. 24, just two weeks after her 81st birthday. Sally was born in Pittsburgh, Pa. on Jan. 7, 1936, the daughter of Janet Fraser Lewis and Mahlon E. Lewis. She was raised in Ben Avon Heights, a small community south of Pittsburgh. Sally graduated from Winchester-Thurston School after which she matriculated at Connecticut College for Women in New London, Conn. The summer following her freshman year she met the love of her life, Michael H. Horner, who had just finished his freshman year at Cornell University. Sally graduated in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in Western European History.
Mike and Sally were married in September, 1958, starting a 58-year marriage. Their early years included time living in Ft. Sill, Okla.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Columbus, Ohio; and Philadelphia, Pa., and also marked the arrival of son Tom and daughters Ginny and Sarah. In 1967, Mike received his MBA degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Sally and Mike and their three young children then moved across the country to La Cañada Flintridge where Mike joined the international management consulting firm, McKinsey and Co. Sally quickly became involved as a volunteer in a number of community activities, including the Junior League, Children’s Hospital, Huntington Hospital, the PTA, Girl Scouts, Newcomers, Visiting Nurses and many others. At the recommendation of a friend who lived in La Cañada Flintridge, they enrolled little Tommy Horner in Tom Sawyer Camps. The biggest change in her life, however, came in 1974 when, through a series of circumstances, Mike and Sally bought Tom Sawyer Camps.
After working in the TSC office for a summer, in 1975 Sally appointed herself executive director, starting a 30-year career in organized camping that would make her nationally prominent in the camp world. She quickly became involved with the American Camp Association and the Western Association of Independent Camps. During her career, Sally touched innumerable lives with her leadership and infectious drive to be better. She had high expectations for herself, her staff and the program and inspired others to do the same by her example. She fully committed herself to camp with a dogged determination to be the best and transmitted the value of hard work to all those who worked for TSC.
Sally took the same attitude to ACA and WAIC where she found a supportive community dedicated to kids and the organizations that support them. She held a number of positions with these organizations including board member and president of the Southern California Section of the ACA, Standards Visitor and Standards Instructor for camps seeking accreditation. She was invited to join the National Standards Board of the ACA where she served for eight years and was the only day camp board member when separate standards were established for day camps. She also served as the I Believe chair and was actively involved in the Legacy Fund, Pioneers of Camping and the Acorn Society. She received many awards during her tenure, including the Outstanding Service award (1991), the Distinguished Service Award (1986) and the National Service Award (2009). She also served on the L.A. Times Campership Council for many years.
Sally is survived by her husband of 58 years, Mike, her son Tom (Maria), her daughter Virginia Villa (Luis) and daughter Sarah Fish (Guy). She also left granddaughter Grace Villa and grandson Nick. A memorial service celebrating the wonderful life of Sally Lewis Horner, who influenced the lives of thousands of children and young adults, will be held at 2 p.m. at the La Cañada Presbyterian Church on Sunday, Feb. 26.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the American Camp Association Campership Fund, the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Los Angeles or a charity of your choice.