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Bill Horne, Clearwater City Manager, Dies Weeks Before Retirement

head shot of man with glasses
City of Clearwater
Clearwater City Manager Bill Horne died unexpectedly on Aug. 14, 2021.

Bill Horne, 72, was scheduled to retire Sept. 3. He died Saturday of a suspected heart attack.

Bill Horne, who served as Clearwater's City Manager for more than two decades, has died just weeks before he was scheduled to retire.

A statement from the city said Horne died Saturday from a suspected heart attack.

Horne, 72, was scheduled to retire Sept. 3.

"We lost a patriot, mentor, leader, public servant, veteran, and role model. I lost my friend," said Mayor Frank Hibbard. "Our community was richer for having Bill Horne and today we are poorer for having lost him. His impact in Clearwater and beyond will live on tangibly and in our hearts."

The Tampa Bay Times reports Hibbard played golf with Horne on Saturday morning, but when Horne did not return home, his wife of 51 years, Loretta, called Police Chief Dan Slaughter. Hibbard returned to the golf course and found Horne in his car.

Horne, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, became general support services administrator in Clearwater in 1998. He was named assistant city manager a year later before becoming interim city manager in July 2000. He was named city manager the following year.

Assistant City Manager Michael Delk will be acting city manager until the City Council can take action at its meeting Monday.

The council is scheduled to interview four finalists for the position Sept. 1.

A memorial service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at Calvary Church, 110 N. McMullen Booth Road in Clearwater. Doors open at 10 a.m., and parking and attendance may be limited and masks will be required inside. The service will also be streamed online.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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