Pamela S. Horn, 67, of Philadelphia, a dedicated nurse and health care provider for many years, died Saturday, Aug. 1, of complications from lupus at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
The eldest of four children born to Carmien and Alfonso Horn, Ms. Horn grew up in Circleville, Ohio, a small town 25 miles south of Columbus.
An outgoing person, Ms. Horn was chosen at age 6 to be “Little Miss Pumpkin.” She rode on a float wearing a frilly dress during the town’s 1959 annual pumpkin show.
While still young, Ms. Horn moved with her family to West Philadelphia. The Horns had two more daughters, Teresa and Alycia. Ms. Horn enjoyed being their big sister, the family said in a statement.
In 1971, Ms. Horn graduated from Philadelphia High School for Girls. While attending the school, she became interested in nursing. She also met Marian Dingus, who would become her lifelong friend.
Ms. Horn graduated from Massachusetts General Hospital School of Nursing in 1977. She began her career at Pennsylvania Hospital, working as an operating room nurse for almost two decades before taking a job as supervisor of the hospital’s short-procedure surgery unit.
Later, Ms. Horn served as nursing director at Concorde Inc. The Center City company provides employee screening and health services, including drug and alcohol testing. It operates throughout the United States, according to a Bloomberg News profile. She retired in 2015 due to declining health.
In her 30s, Ms. Horn was diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and pain. Despite that, her spirit was undaunted.
“With a glass-half-full demeanor, Ms. Horn faced her maladies and fought each one with an eye to a better day,” the family said.
Her brother, Jeffrey, recalled feeling ashamed when he complained to her about his minor ailments. “Pam, ever the nurse, would recommend three or four different remedies and then proceed to laugh her way through her description of the terrible night she’d just had,” he said. “She was the strongest person I’ve ever known, and as I told her countless times, my hero. Life without her will never be the same.”
Her calming presence and kind nature made her a natural confidante and adviser. The advice she gave encompassed medical issues and personal problems.
A skilled conversationalist, Ms. Horn looked forward to social gatherings. Armed with a quick wit, she could come up with a sarcastic comment when needed, the family said.
Nephew Justin Horn described his aunt as “one of my biggest inspirations and one of the greatest people I’ve ever met in my life.”
Dan Kroll, a longtime friend, said Ms. Horn was a person he could tell anything. “And they still love you unconditionally,” Kroll said.
She enjoyed following the news, talking politics, and travel. She especially liked Caribbean cruises and trips to London, Luxembourg, Greece, and Russia. When health issues made long-distance travel impossible, she enjoyed seeing a show in New York or playing the slots at the Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City.
Her brother said she lived a life of grace, purpose, and conviction.
Besides her brother and sisters, she is survived by two nephews and two nieces.
Services were Thursday, Aug. 6.