Grace E. Horney

September 6, 1926 - October 22, 2017

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Grace Elisabeth Horney (aka Bettina, Betty, Bet, Mom and Grandma), 91 of Downey, California died from natural causes on October 22, 2017. She was born in Moctezuma, Sonora, Mexico on September 6, 1926 and raised in Miami, Oklahoma. She was one of 8 children. Her mother Viola Bitticks (Gibbons) moved the family to South Gate, CA in 1943.


In 1946 Grace traveled across the country by train to board the 3rd peace time sailing of the Queen Elizabeth in New York, taking her to Great Britain to marry the love of her life, Royal Air Force pilot Norman Horney, who predeceased her. After a year of living in England they moved back to Southern California settling in Downey in 1953.


Grace had two children, Ross Alan Horney (wife Donnetta Jensen Horney) and grandchildren Christopher and Dustin Horney of Huntington Beach, CA, and Connie St. Amand (Horney) (husband Daun St. Amand) of Los Angeles, CA and grandchildren Ashley, Lea and Gabrielle St. Amand survive her. Grace is also survived by her youngest sister, Leslie Brown (Bitticks) of Portland, Oregon, along with numerous nephews, nieces and extended family across the country.


Grace became one of the first female elected school board members on the Downey Unified School District Board of Education in 1965. She held numerous positions on the board, serving as President 4 times. She stepped down from the board in 1993 after serving 28 years. Also during this time she was a member of numerous committees throughout the area. Close to her heart was her time serving on the Downey Women’s Club Scholarship Committee, which enabled many Downey graduates to attend college.


In 1987 Grace received special recognition by the Los Angeles County Democratic Party for her exemplary record of service to her community by the Honorable Cecil Green 33rd Senatorial District of California. Also, in 1993 she received special commendation for her public and civic leadership by the Honorable Bob Epple of the 56th Assembly District of California.
Grace, a girl from a small Midwest town, lived an extraordinary life. She married a British pilot, sailed on the Queen Mary, moved to California, and became one of the first elected female officials in her town. She remained politically active throughout her life, earning the respect and trust of students and teachers alike.


More importantly, Grace was the adored matriarch of her family. She hosted annual holiday gatherings and spoiled her family with her signature cooking and baking for decades. She founded the Horney Family Scholarship Fund for her 5 grandchildren, and provided an endless supply of emotional support and inspiration. Her intelligence and sharp wit delighted her family. Grace was the most amazing wife, mother, aunt, grandmother and friend a family could ever have, making a large impact on many lives. Her gift of love and caring will never be forgotten and sorely missed.


The family is holding a private ceremony to celebrate the life and the many accomplishments of their beloved Grace.


Memorial Gifts in Grace’s memory can be made to: Downey Women’s Club Scholarship Fund, 9813 Paramount Boulevard, Downey, CA 90240.