Robert D. Horsey, 72, Somerset County judge


Robert D. Horsey, a retired Somerset County District Court judge and sailor, died at his Marion Station home Sunday of Lewy Body dementia, a progressive brain disease. He was 72.

Judge Horsey was born at his family's Coulbourne Creek home in the lower Eastern Shore county and raised at a nearby farm.

After graduating from Crisfield High School in 1951, he worked for two years for the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, surveying the Eastern Seaboard from New England to Key West, Fla.

He enlisted in the Army and served as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division from 1954 to 1956.

Judge Horsey earned a bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina in 1960, and his law degree in 1961 from the University of Baltimore. After being admitted to the Maryland bar in 1962, he entered practice with Peter G. Angelos, a law school classmate and longtime friend.

"True to his Eastern Shore heritage, Bob Horsey was a Marylander of few words but of sterling accomplishments - 82nd Airborne paratrooper, lawyer, judge, farmer and devoted family man. He was a solid and wonderful guy," Mr. Angelos said yesterday. "His life reflected the earthly rewards of industry, honor and integrity."

In 1966, Judge Horsey returned to Somerset County - where his ancestors had lived since the 1600s - and was elected that year as its state's attorney. He held the job until 1976, when then-Gov. Marvin Mandel named him to the county's District Court.

Though he formally retired in 1998, Judge Horsey continued hearing cases until 2003.

"Bob was always a straight-shooter and the law was his mistress. He was never so-so but always fair, and he was popular with the bar, public and law enforcement," said Wicomico County Circuit Judge Alfred T. Truitt Jr.

"He could also be stern. His lectures, stories and advice from the bench to defendants and the whole courtroom was something that definitely had to be heard. I know that he turned a lot of people's lives around," said longtime friend Charlene S. Showell, secretary to Worcester County Circuit Judge Richard Bloxom.

"He always had a twinkle in his eye and a crazy sense of humor. He'd tell me he was going out to get a part for his tractor or a new fishing rod and give it to his wife for Valentine's Day and knew I'd raise a fuss," she said.

It was said that Judge Horsey, having risen from humble origins, had the ability to speak with and get to know people from all levels of society and backgrounds.

"He was a good moral compass," said a son, Robert D. Horsey III of Salisbury.

In his spare time, Judge Horsey enjoyed farming his land overlooking the Big Annemessex River, and boating on Seahorse, his vintage Owens cabin cruiser.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at Asbury United Methodist Church in Crisfield.

Also surviving are his wife of 49 years, the former Florence Nelson, a retired Somerset County educator; another son, Richard D. Horsey of Salisbury; a daughter, Rachel H. Egolf of Delmar, Del.; two sisters, Carol Torre of Salisbury and Billie Rae Reese of Crisfield; and three grandsons.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.