Joseph LeFevre Horner

In Memoriam: Joseph LeFevre Horner

March 07, 2008


Joseph LeFevre Horner, an OSA Fellow Emeritus known for his work in the area of optical pattern recognition, died on March 7, 2008 in Belmont, MA, following a long battle with cancer. He was 73.

Dr. Horner, a graduate of Haverford College, received his Master’s degree from Bryn Mawr College and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. After six years of post doctoral work at the NASA Center in Kendall Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Horner joined the Polaroid Corporation, where he worked as a consultant reporting directly to Dr. Edwin Land. In 1978 he moved to the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory at Hanscom Field, now the Air Force Research Lab, where he remained until his retirement in 1999. At the time of his retirement Horner was Chief of the Optical Signal Processing Branch.

An OSA member for 40 years, Horner was named an OSA Fellow in 1989. He was elected a Fellow of the International Society for Optical Engineering [SPIE] in 1987 and was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Inventor of the Year Award from the Inventor’s Association of New England and the Air Force Basic Science Award for outstanding scientific achievement. Horner was the author of over 125 papers, the editor of two books, including Optical Pattern Recognition [SPIE, 1992], and was granted more than 20 patents.

Horner was a serious musician who played the piano, clarinet, violin and viola. He played in community orchestras and served as the Concert Master of the Cambridge Orchestra for 8 years. Horner was committed to volunteer work, serving with the domestic Peace Corps in the 1970’s. In 1989 he started the “Mr. Fix-It” program, which offered small home repair services for seniors through the Belmont Council on Aging [COA]. He was a member of the COA Board, the Board of the Longy School of Music and was Treasurer of the Belmont Elderly Citizens, Inc., a non-profit organization that raises money for seniors’ needs. In 2006 Horner was named Citizen of the Year by the Rotary Club of Belmont.

Horner is survived by his wife of 47 years, Matina, three children and two grandchildren. Donations to his memory can be made to the Belmont Council on Aging, 23 Oakley Rd., Belmont, MA 02478 or to the Longy School of Music, One Follen St., Cambridge, MA 02138.