|Posted by Anne Siren on October 26, 2012 at 3:35 PM|
Lighthouse Point – More than 500 people filled St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church as a Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated Oct. 16 for Kevin Harold Horkheimer, 61, of Deerfield Beach.
Horkheimer, a lieutenant with the Lighthouse Point Fire Rescue Department and a 37-year employee, died Oct. 11.
A procession of fire-rescue vehicles from nine area agencies accompanied the casket from the funeral home to the church.
An honor guard from several fire departments, including Lighthouse Point, took part in the service, along with a drum and pipes corps.
Lighthouse Point Fire Chief David Donzella, who spoke during the service, said in an interview that Horkheimer was known for always having a smile.
“And when given instructions, he never complained. He got it done. He was very resourceful, very reliable and very mechanically inclined. He would find whatever methods were needed to take care of an emergency.”
He recalled one instance when a chain saw handle broke, and Horkheimer found scrap metal in the station to make a new handle and welded it together, restoring the equipment.
Donzella said he never had to worry about Horkheimer and his shift. When off duty, he loved to golf, bowl, exercise and have a good time with his friends, the chief said.
“He was always volunteering to help people – installing windows or doors, pumping water out of boats,” Donzella said.
Years ago he was involved in the city’s recreation program coaching softball, soccer, baseball and umpiring.
“For over 40 years he was heavily involved in the Lighthouse Point community and in working for the fire department. He was like an institution and one of the faces everyone knows,” Donzella added.
The city will recognize Horkheimer as one of its “Keepers” at Keeper Day ceremonies in February. Horkheimer was aware he was being honored. “He was a good guy, and he will be missed. He always did a good job for the city,” Donzella said.
Both longtime Fire Department employee Lt. Mike Sullivan and Firefighter/Paramedic Jessica Cruz describe Horkheimer as their “mentor and best friend.”
Sullivan said he was fortunate to have met Horkheimer nearly 29 years ago shortly before he was hired at the fire department. He also spoke at the funeral service.
“Kevin was always a giving person, and if there was someone in need of help, Kevin was the first one to step up to the plate,” Sullivan said. He gave many hours to volunteer coaching in the city.
“Kevin will be most remembered for his happy go lucky attitude, his integrity, his honesty, his strength and straightforwardness,” Sullivan said. “He loved life to the fullest and the people who were in his life but most of all his two children, his grandchildren and his family,” he said.
“He was my mentor and a father figure for me. I don’t think I would have made it if not for him standing by my side always,” said Cruz, the first woman in the fire department. “He would let me know if I did something wrong, but he was always for me.”
“He was a great person, liked by everyone in the department,” said Firefighter/Paramedic Steve Bilka. “The public loved the guy. He will truly be missed by all.”
Horkheimer was born Jan. 16, 1951 in Bridgeport, Conn., to Robert and Katherine Horkheimer.
Surviving are his children Jill (Brent) Thompson and Danny (Beth) Horkheimer; grandchildren, Chase and Mia Thompson; siblings Bob (Julie) Horkheimer, Patricia Horkheimer, Peggy LaPrade and Brian Horkheimer.Also surviving is Margee Horkheimer.
As he cleaned out Kevin Horkheimer’s locker at the fire station, Lt. Mike Sullivan found this list of rules that had once been posted for a new shift. He shared it at the memorial service.