William "Bill" Hornig, Jr.

Obituary of William "Bill" Harvey Hornig, Jr.

William “Bill” Harvey Hornig Jr., 78, passed away on December 22, 2023 at Viera Hospital, Melbourne, Fla., due to complications from pneumonia. He is survived by his daughters Sherri Lynn Hornig Shields (Titusville, Fla.) and Melissa Dawn Hornig Hodnett (Cookeville, Tenn.); sisters Virginia Hornig Lamon (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Bonnie Jane Boone (Virginia Beach, Va.); brother Charles Kevin Hornig (Rockledge, Fla.); grandchildren, Garrett Reed Shields, Clay Austin Shields, Kenneth Edward Hodnett Jr., Briley Chase Hodnett, Kaitlyn Brooke Hodnett, and Alana Nicole Hodnett; nephew Kade Andrew Lamon, nieces Tennille Krystal Lamon and Lindsey Marie Hornig. He is preceded in death by his parents, William Harvey Hornig and Clara Virginia Stadermann Hornig, and his partner, Barbara Ann Robinson.

Bill was a proud U.S. Air Force veteran (1965-69) who served in Vietnam (1968-69). He was a member of the Viera Elks Lodge 2817, a former member of the Brevard Lodge #113 Free and Accepted Masons of Florida (more than 35 years), a former Azan Temple Shriner, and former member of the “Satellites”—a Shriner motorcycle competition team. He was also a member of the American Legion Post 400.

Bill was born on November 29, 1945 in Mineola, New York but grew up primarily in St. Petersburg, Fla. He graduated from Citrus High School in Inverness, Fla., enlisted in the Air Force and attended air conditioning technical school (1965). He attended Brevard Community College and completed basic police training (1976). He was an HVAC technician and later a supervisor of air conditioning and refrigeration at the Brevard County School Board (1969-87), and he was co-owner of H&H Air Conditioning in the 1980s. He was a mechanic for various launch teams at Kennedy Space Center, including PanAm World Services (1987-88), General Dynamics/Martin Marietta/Lockheed Martin/United Launch Alliance (1990-2007).

His law enforcement experience includes a deputy sheriff (patrol and motorcycle traffic) for the Brevard County Sheriff’s Department, police officer for the City of Cocoa, a reserve police officer for the City of Rockledge, and a systems security specialist for Johnson Controls, Inc.

After retiring, he took on occasional part-time jobs, such as a driver for Bob Steele Chevrolet and Hyundai, and a crew leader assistant for the 2010 Census.

As a president of Admiralty Lakes Townhomes Homeowners Association, he demanded adherence to the bylaws, yet he tested the limits himself in pursuit of being unique and pushing someone’s buttons. It was easy to spot his townhouse amongst all the others with the ever-so-slightly differently painted trim, unconventional Mickey Mouse lamplight cover, or the lighted Santa Claus on the roof at Christmastime, which was open for interpretation whether it was peeing off the roof or holding a rope.

“Wild Bill”—as he was called in his high school yearbook—led a colorful life. He was passionate for women, fast cars, motorcycles, and his second amendment rights. He was politically vocal

and proudly displayed his choice—or non-choice—of candidates on his vehicle or large flag inside his garage.

He lived for today, and sometimes beyond his means. He lived life on the edge and for adventure: he was a scuba diver, a skydiver, and an avid motorcyclist. He’s owned an airboat and 13 motorcycles over his lifetime. He had the need for speed, and he didn’t think twice about the speedometer reaching 100+ mph. Although he gave up riding for several years due to back surgery, he was proud to finally own a CanAm (three-wheeled motorcycle), allowing him to ride once again.

He took great pride in his sporty vehicles, which were often red, and he rarely let them go untidy. It was pertinent that each vehicle was customized to have all the bells and whistles, and that he had matching manufacturer apparel. Most-recently, he was particularly proud of his Toyota trucks, outfitting them for increased horsepower, and personalization as his own. In years past, he was proud of his eye-catching, custom-built Jack Daniels motorcycle trailer, souped up golf cart, and his accomplishment of the complete engine rebuild of a VW bug.

He was a first-adopter and always had the latest gadgets, whether it be wireless weather stations, remote garage door openers or motion and voice-activated lights before they were mainstream.

He owned one of the first mobile bag car phones, in which he discretely wired an external microphone in the headliner. His love for audio equipment and music were evident—as a member of the sound club in high school, an owner of reel-to-reel tape equipment in the 1960s, strategically-wired home audio equipment, attendance of live smooth jazz concerts, and his large collection of CDs to-date.

As a strong advocate for his 2nd Amendment Rights, he was a longstanding member of the NRA, and a firearm enthusiast who enjoyed shooting on the range frequently.

He was crusty on the outside—short-tempered, outspoken, strong-willed and sometimes difficult to get along with—yet he had a soft side. He was generous; he would give the shirt off his back to his friends and family, and he wouldn’t think twice about giving a friend a ride to the airport. He loved his pets; his Siamese cat for more than 20 years, and his Pug dogs were the light of his life. He donated monthly to the Humane Society, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA). The Police Benevolent Association and the Wounded Warrior Project were also close to his heart.

He was married and divorced twice, 11 years and nearly 7 years respectively, and then in a committed relationship for more than five years. He knew how to impress women, and was forever a “Playboy.” He was a spiffy dresser, loved wine tastings and fine dining, but also enjoyed cooking on the grill.

He was witty and had a keen sense of humor. He enjoyed kidding around and saying things to get a rise from you or get under your skin. He liked being the center of attention, whether it be humorous or confrontational.

He was intense and had no tolerance for “stupid” people, and that included those who couldn’t park within the white lines; they just might find a sarcastic note on their windshield.

Later in life, he was a man of convenience. His idea of exercise was walking around the block — the cinder block in his front yard! Diagnosed with lazy bone marrow, he joked that he was lazy to the core. He was a diabetic, yet there was never a shortage of coffee ice cream or grapefruit vodka in the freezer, or wine in the refrigerator.

Bill was a survivor—a survivor of Vietnam, a boiler blast (1977), at least two car accidents, and COVID, but unfortunately, he couldn’t survive pneumonia and COPD. And although he was not a “religious” man, he had faith in God; he just kept it to himself. May God rest his soul.

William “Bill” Harvey Hornig Jr. will be buried with Air Force honors at the Cape Canaveral National Cemetery in Mims, Fla., Lane A, on April 10, 2024 at 11 a.m. Afterward, a Celebration of Life will be held at  Baci Restaurant and Bar in Rockledge, Fla. at 12:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please make a cash donation to the Central Brevard Humane Society or a bring cat or dog food to the Celebration of Life.

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