By Karen Andrew
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Samuel C. Hornsby began his 53-year career as a bus driver with the Cincinnati Street Railway Co. in 1943, having chosen the bus over the trolley because he admired its uniform.
He was one of those bus drivers who greeted his riders each morning and evening with a smile as they climbed aboard - most recently for a commute to and from downtown Cincinnati via Interstate 71. He loved his job and the people he met, family members said. He even married one of his passengers, Jean Kurtz of Cheviot, in 1949.
"He lived an interesting life," said Jean Hornsby. "He always liked things in a big way and he was proud of being in the (military) service."
Mr. Hornsby died of cancer June 15 in his home. The Williamsburg resident was 84.
Born in 1919 in Clay County, Ky., he grew up in downtown Cincinnati. After joining the railway company, he left for three years to fight in World War II in an Army engineering unit, where he was stationed in both the European and Pacific theaters.
After the war, he returned home to his job driving a bus.
He retired in 1985 from Queen City Metro (formerly Queen City Transit), but returned part time within just five months because he missed meeting so many people, family members said. He retired again in 1990, but returned in 1991. Finally, he retired for good in 1999 at age 80
In 1998, he was honored by Metro with a surprise "Sam Hornsby Day" for his then-52 years of faithful service.
For his last retirement, Metro named the entrance drive at its Bond Hill depot after him.
Mr. Hornsby also helped start a charter bus business, Alpha Tours, now known as Alpha-Trailways, in St. Bernard.
He celebrated one of his Metro retirement days by driving an Amish horse and buggy from the Alpha office to Metro's Bond Hill garage.
He was an active member of Bloom Rose United Methodist Church near Williamsburg, where he was a lay leader.
Mr. Hornsby enjoyed farming, raising Tennessee Walker horses and was a die-hard Reds fan.
He was preceded in death by his six older brothers and sisters.
Mr. Hornsby is survived by his wife of 52 years, Jean; three sons, Michael of Williamsburg, Luther of Mount Washington and Larry of Mount Lookout; a daughter, Michelle Thacker of Eastgate; 10 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.
Services have been held.
Memorials: Hospice of Cincinnati, 4310 Cooper Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242-5613.
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