Murfreesboro, Middle Tennessee State University and Rutherford County lost two irreplaceable achievers a few weeks back, with their robust and unique public service personalities.
Murfreesboro residents Ewing “Tommy” Smith Jr. and Harry “Trader” Horne left their world a better place than they found it.
In his former life before moving to Murfreesboro for semi-retirement years, Horne literally impacted the globe as consul general to Canada.
Horne dealt with heads of state and acquired his nickname for his ability to bring nations closer together.
He served the Canadian Medical Corps in World War II. Following service in France, Netherlands and Germany, he returned for more formal education in Canada, eventually joining the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, the commercial part of the Canada’s diplomatic corps.
For the next 40 years, Horne served in the diplomatic service around the globe and U.S.
In 1967, he was named consul general for Canada in Australia, and later in Atlanta and San Francisco.
“Horne brought honor and humor to all blessed to be around him socially,” said Kent Syler, president of the Murfreesboro Rotary Club. “If you met him for coffee at Demo's Restaurant, you came away feeling better about things. He had that type of magnetic personality."
Syler said the Rotary Club helped him celebrate his 96th birthday last month, noting he will be missed by many in the community.
"He had a distinguished global diplomat career and was a respected adjunct political science professor at MTSU,” he said.
“A Rotarian for 45 years and a former president of Murfreesboro Rotary, Horne lived by the rotarian creed, starting with truth and good deeds for all concerned,” added WGNS Radio Personality Bart Walker, a past president of the Rotary Club.
Horne and his wife, Betty, endeared themselves to my wife, Pat, and I back in the 1990s, when they honored our home multiple times to uplift my spirits and health following major hip-replacement surgery.
After one visit, Pat asked me about his occupation before retirement and moving to Tennessee: “He was chief of the Canadian diplomatic corps and dealt with leaders of nations around the globe.”
“And such a notable man and his wife, came for personal visits in our humble home,” Pat responded.
When moving to Rutherford County, Horne became a devotee to MTSU, where he taught political science from 1983 to 1990. The Hornes established the Horne Scholarship, which benefits Tennessee students majoring in political science at MTSU.
Tommy Smith left his own impact on the fabric of Rutherford County.
Born in 1933 to Ewing Smith and Mozelle McCullough Smith, Tommy Smith followed his father in the law profession, along with his two sisters.
“He specialized in real estate law,” Murfreesboro City Manager Rob Lyons said.
In addition to his law practice, Tommy Smith served on the Murfreesboro City Council from 1964 to 1978, serving as vice mayor for many of those years. He was later elected to the Tennessee General Assembly for one term.
WGNS Radio Talk Show Personality Truman Jones and Syler were among those paying their respects at Woodfin and Jennings and Ayers funeral homes at his services.
“We’re losing our cornerstone bedrock community leaders,” said Jones, who is a former Rutherford County sheriff. “These type leaders will not be replaced.”
“Harry and Tommy faithfully served their community well,” added Syler, a retired chief of staff to former U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon, of Murfreesboro.
Lyons spoke of community leaders.
“In working with elected officials for 23 years, I’ve seen some common denominators in these individuals,” Lyons said. “Elected officials, such as Tommy, care about their community. They want to give back and help the community get better.
“Tommy Smith cared about Murfreesboro and helped make it a better place for generations to come,” he added. “He had a nickname of ‘Little Tommy,” but his impact on our community, on our state, was anything but little.”
Farewell, to two good and faithful servants of mankind.