On Sunday night at the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet, an ACE Grant was endowed in memory of Lewis C. Horne Jr., former AJGA Board Secretary. Horne died on Feb. 23 after a short illness. His family was on hand to celebrate the endowment, along with close friend and member of the AJGA Board of Directors, Vicki Goetze-Ackerman.
The ACE Grant endowment will live in perpetuity, providing golf opportunities for minority girls golfers. The first ACE Grant in Lew Horne’s name will be distributed in 2018.
Introduced to golf at age 40, the leading Atlanta public finance attorney first made his name as a pioneering African-American lawyer, but he built a legacy in the game after a simple invitation to play.
Horne also served on the boards of the Georgia State Golf Foundation, Atlanta Junior Golf Association and LPGA Foundation. He served as a charter member on the World Golf Foundation Diversity Task Force, was inducted into the National Black Golf Hall of Fame in 2008 and was an early supporter of The First Tee.
From 1997-1999, Horne served as President and CEO of the National Minority Golf Foundation where he laid out the NMGF’s mission for growing the game through giving access, opportunity and affordability to players because “golf truly is a game for everyone.”
He brought this perspective to the American Junior Golf Association’s Board of Directors in 1999 where he served faithfully for nearly 20 years. Horne helped the AJGA manage its move from Horseshoe Bend to its current National Headquarters at Château Élan, advising on legal matters during the transition. He quickly became ingrained in the AJGA family.
“We will miss our dear friend, his sense of humor, his countless contributions, and his sage advice and counsel,” said AJGA Board Vice President Joseph Quirk. “His background helped us as we were starting to grow, and needless to say, he changed lives. He was always so fun to be around. He loved the AJGA. He loved being around the kids.”
Horne’s love for junior golfers was evident as he traveled to events around the world. He chaperoned players during international competitions and traveled in support of the PING Junior Solheim Cup teams, often alongside Past Board President Gayle Champagne.
“I loved Lew's always-genuine smile and the fact that everyone he met, wherever we travelled, became a friend,” Champagne said.
Horne’s involvement with junior golfers is one of his most lasting legacies at the AJGA.
“Lew loved everything about junior golf,” said AJGA Executive Director Stephen Hamblin. “He had an interest in minority golf, and his love for growing girls golf came as a result of his daughters. He wanted to make sure there was a great opportunity for especially girls to use the AJGA as a vehicle to their future success.”
Alina Lee owes a lot to Horne.
From a casual meeting at an AJGA event when she was 12, to a relationship cemented over a few hours playing in a Junior-Am, the pair built a 15-year friendship.
Lee and Horne talked in person several times per year and exchanged emails and calls. Lee, an AJGA champion and two-time Rolex Junior All-American, played college golf at the University of Georgia. They stayed in touch even talking through big issues like racism experienced by student-athletes. Horne played college baseball at Dartmouth during a time when few African-Americans were on campus.
“He was someone I could talk to about anything … even things I felt I couldn’t tell my parents about because you don’t want them to worry,” Lee said. “I always knew I could talk to Lew.”
When Lee graduated in 2008 during the economic downturn, she again turned to Horne for advice on her career plans, which before had always included playing on the LPGA Tour.
“He is one of the big reasons I went to law school and became a lawyer,” said Lee, who attended law school at Vanderbilt and now is legal counsel to Southern Company Gas in Atlanta. “It’s a career I really love, and he really took me under his wing when I expressed an interest. He was a really important figure in my life.
“He used to call me his ‘golf daughter’ but he wasn’t just a role model to me. He made a real impact on so many golfers. He was equally loving and concerned no matter what. It’s really rare to meet someone like that.”
Chief Operations Officer Mark Oskarson may have put it best when he reflected about Horne that, “once you were in with Lew, you were in for life.”
Professionally, Horne had more than 35 years of experience in the corporate and securities public finance arenas, and his legal life was full of accomplishments.
He earned national recognition as a public finance attorney, serving as Director of the National Association of Bond Lawyers and Chairman of the American Bar Association’s Subcommittee on the Federal (securities) Regulation of Municipal and Governmental Obligations. He acted as chief legal officer of Grady Health System, where he was extensively involved in negotiating and structuring the reorganization of Grady Health System in 2008. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Regents University Medical Center.
Horne graduated with Distinction from Dartmouth College before earning masters and law degrees from Harvard University in 1976. He is survived by his wife, Audrey Waller, daughters Stephanie and Sydney, and granddaughter Cecily.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 4 at 2 p.m. at the Cecil B. Day Chapel at The Carter Center.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Lewis C. Horne Memorial Fund, supporting minority junior golfers through the American Junior Golf Association. Contributions may be sent to AJGA Foundation, Attention: Lew Horne Memorial Fund, 1980 Sports Club Drive, Braselton, GA 30517, or at www.ajga.org/lewhorne.