JASPER, TX (KTRE) - R.C. Horn, Jasper's first black mayor, died Saturday of natural causes, according to the KJAS.com, website. He was 85.
The KJAS.com article stated that Horn served as mayor from 1998 to 2004. He was the town's mayor in the aftermath of the gruesome dragging death of James Byrd Jr.
"Horn gained national attention when he, and former Sheriff Billy Rowles, calmly led Jasper through her darkest hour in 1998 following the murder of James Byrd, Jr.," the KJAS.com story stated. "Horn was later portrayed by famed actor Louis Gossett, Jr. in the movie "Jasper, Texas" in 2003, which was based on the murder of Byrd."
Although Horn survived a heart attack in 2009, his health continued to decline, the KJAS.com story stated.
The KJAS.com article said that horn was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, who died in December of 2013. The couple had five children, 15 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.
The Rev. Rodney Norsworthy told the Beaumont Enterprise that Horn had grown ill in recent months and had recently suffered a stroke.
"He was a great man," Nortsworthy said in the Beaumont Enterprise story. "He was a family man. He loved people. … He was a great ambassador for the city of Jasper. In my opinion, he was the greatest mayor Jasper will ever have."
The Beaumont Enterprise story said Horn served with the US Marine Corps in his younger days, and he remained involved in public affairs after his two terms as the mayor of Jasper.
"Over the last dozen years, Horn tried four times, unsuccessfully, to regain the mayor's spot," the KJAS.com story stated. "In 2005 he lost a race against David Barber. In 2007 he lost a challenge to David Barber. In 2011 he lost a challenge to Mike Lout. And in 2015 he lost a race against Randy Sayers."
According to the Beaumont Enterprise story, funeral arrangements for Horn are pending at the Robinson Community Funeral Home in Jasper.