William (Bill) Everett Hornung, 83, passed away on Sunday, November 14, 2021, in Austin, Texas. He was born on July 31, 1938, in Tucson, Arizona to William Carl Hornung and Ruth Angela Sievers.
Bill was a highly-accomplished gentleman, a fact belied by his modest and unassuming nature. His life experiences, however, reveal his profound intellect, strength, bravery and character. In various incarnations across a rich and full life, Bill was an attorney, an Officer in the U.S. Navy, an F.B.I. agent, a farm and ranch hand, a smokejumper and forestry aid, a professor of criminal justice, a student of history, a writer and storyteller, and a European traveler. He was also an avid hunter – not only of wild game in his youth, but of corruption, crooks and Klansman, of books, beauty, and bargains. Above all else, he sought the goodness in humanity, and he took refuge in the deeper mysteries of nature. Bill knowingly risked his life to serve and advance the public good, and worked tirelessly to leave the people, property and the land he traversed in better condition than he found them. He did what was right when no one was looking and wanted neither a pedestal nor praise for his efforts. He exhibited a rare balance of courage and humility, strength and compassion, erudition and common sense, charm and self-deprecation. Bill had a special connection to the Texas landscape, its ruggedness and its rockiness, and he would often take his sons on treks to scout and re-home rocks so heavy they seemed impossible to move—their size almost comical in the bed of his pickup—as he worked to sculpt his enchanted land in Sunset Valley. Over a period of 50 years, Bill built and maintained perhaps some of the most intricate and personal dry stacked stone walls in Texas, each individual stone self-harvested from the native soil of his land and placed by hand with technical precision and a sacred sensitivity. He walked this Earth as an observant, benevolent, and humble presence. Those who know him still will always be inspired by his wisdom, strength and goodness.
He is preceded in death by his parents and survived by his spouse, Melissa Hornung; sister Grayce Herring; sons William A. Hornung and spouse Megumi Naoi and their children Kai William Hornung and Ellie Akari Hornung, and Charles T. Hornung and spouse Sunni L. Brown, each of whom made him very proud; step-son, Landy Haile and spouse Marta and their three children Michael, Ethan and Emma, each of whom also made him proud; nephews and nieces Walter, Michael and Ruth Anne Herring; cousins Warren Hornung and Martha Jo (Hornung) Whitt and others. Bill’s final resting place will be held in the Monthalia United Methodist Church Cemetery down the fence line from the Hornung home place, at 11 am Saturday, November 20, 2021 where he will be surrounded by loving family. Pastor Warren Hornung will officiate the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Monthalia United Methodist Church (1926 Co Rd 112, Cost, TX 78614) or the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (https://www.michaeljfox.org/donate). Arrangements are under the care and direction of Seydler-Hill Funeral Home, Gonzales, TX. Friends may sign the guestbook and leave condolences by visiting www.seydlerhillfuneralhome.com. Services are under the care and direction of Seydler-Hill Funeral Home in Gonzales.