Winifred Horner raised 4 children, wrote 9 books

Thursday, February 6, 2014 | 10:05 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Winifred Bryan Horner died Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014. She was 91 years old.

She was born Aug. 31, 1922, to Winifred Kinealy and Walter Edwin Bryan.

In 1943, she graduated from Washington University and married David. A Horner Sr. the same year. They had four children together.

In 1948, The Saturday Evening Post published her feature article about the challenges of life on a farm. The article was subsequently entered into the U.S Congressional Record by Sen. Stuart Symington and commended by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

She earned her master's degree in English from MU when her youngest child was 4 years old.

In 1961, she joined the English department at MU as an adjunct and an instructor. She earned her Ph.D. in English language, literature and linguistics in 1975 from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

She returned to MU in 1976 and worked as a linguistics professor. She also served as the director of the composition program. 

Dr. Horner chaired the committee that initiated the first official "Writing Across the Curriculum" program at MU. She was also the first scholar at the university to unite rhetoric with composition. She considered these two accomplishments the most important in her career.

Dr. Horner retired in 1996 but continued to write and teach. During her academic career, she wrote and published nine books and more than 30 articles.

In 2008, MU's English Department named a fellowship in rhetoric in her honor, and in 2010, the Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric named their annual book award in her honor.

Dr. Horner is survived by her husband, David A. Horner Sr.; daughter Win Grace of Columbia; son Richard L. Horner of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; daughter Beth Horner and her partner, Ron Gurule, of Evanston, Ill.; and son David A. Horner Jr. and his wife, Merrill, of Columbia and Steelville. She is also survived by her brother, John K. Bryan, and his wife, Doris, of Chapel Hill, N.C., and seven grandchildren: Leela Grace and her fiancé, Seth Barr; Ellie Grace; Gabriel Horner and his fiancée, Andrea Williamson; Wesley Horner; Miski Horner; Alexandria Horner; and John Horner.

Dr. Horner and her husband endowed a scholarship for single mothers who wanted to continue their education. In lieu of flowers, gifts to this fund are appreciated. Donations can be directed to the University of Missouri, Winifred Bryan Horner Scholarship, 109 Reynolds Alumni Center, Columbia, MO 65211.

Services will be held later.

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