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Obituary of William Hornung, Sr.

William Paul (Bill) Hornung passed away Monday, Christmas morning, December 25, 2017, at the Kit Carson County Memorial Hospital in Burlington, Colorado, at the age of 94.

He was born at home on January 25, 1923, to Andrew James and Mary Elizabeth (Droste) Hornung of Windthorst, Kansas, a Catholic German settlement near the town of Spearville. He was the seventh of eight children.

Bill attended the Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Windthorst, Kansas. His parents had a deep, strong faith and made many sacrifices to send their children to a Catholic school.

After completing high school, Bill farmed for Swidbert (Swede) Hornung and worked at road construction before serving in the U.S. Navy Reserves. He was an Aviation Radioman, Second Class from 1944 until 1946.

Bill married Joan Theresa Conrardy on November 12, 1946, at St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Wright, Kansas. The day after they were married, they moved to Stratton, Colorado. There was three feet of snow on level ground when they arrived at their first home seven miles northeast of Stratton. Bill came to Stratton to work for his cousin Swede. This began his lifelong work of farming and ranching.

In his younger years, he enjoyed playing on a summer league baseball team. He also enjoyed hunting and trap shooting which he passed on to his sons and grandsons. Bill served on the Stratton Equity Co-op Board for many years, as a Councilman for the John Birch Society, Kit Carson County Commissioner for two terms, Member and Director of the Colorado Livestock PCA, Kit Carson County Cattlemen's Association, R-Calf USA, Burlington Soil Conservation District, Stratton American Legion, and Kit Carson County Farm Bureau. And of course, we can't forget his card-playing club!

Bill was a member of the Immaculate Conception Church in Burlington. He was instrumental in the building of the Sacred Heart Academy because he knew the importance of a good Catholic education. He has supported the work of the Traditional priests and sisters for many years. It gave him great joy to have a grandson become a priest and a granddaughter join the convent.

Bill was a loving Grandfather to all his grandchildren. They remember how he liked to tease Grandma and tell stories. He always had a stick of gum or candy in his shirt pocket for the grandkids. He had a great sense of humor and a very competitive spirit.

Bill and Joan have twelve children, sixty grandchildren and seventy-three great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his wife of 69 years, Joan, whom he devotedly cared for while she was in a nursing home; two sons: Stephen and Patrick, granddaughter Madeleine Hornung and great-grandson James Patrick Dour. He is survived by his children: Terrence (Shelley) Hornung, Victoria (Richard) Sutton, Cynthia (Kent) Luebbers, David (Barb) Hornung, daughter-in-law Margaret Hornung Jolly, Arlene (Dave) Brinkhoff, Janine (Jim) Fox, Annette (Lee) Short, William Jr. (Jeanine) Hornung, Timothy (Darla) Hornung, and Mark (Kerstin) Hornung.

In a personal message he wrote to his family in 1999: "Our parents lived very simply, suffered many hardships and did without to provide a place of worship, to see that we had a Catholic education and put ‘first things first.’ Despite our marvelous conveniences today and our improved comforts, there are challenges we face that were never dreamed of by our grandparents and parents. As much faith is required to face the challenges of today, whether it is to make a living for our families or to ‘keep our faith.’”