Joseph Horning

It is with deep sadness and profound respect that we commemorate the life and legacy of Joseph F. Horning, Chairman Emeritus and Co-founder of Horning.  Joe passed away on Monday, January 8th. at his home in Washington, DC.  He was ninety-two.

Born in the Brightwood neighborhood of Washington, D.C., Joe attended the Nativity School, St. Charles Seminary, and Mount Saint Mary’s College. Joe was proud of his Irish heritage and needed no prompt to share that three of his grandparents were born in Ireland.

In 1958, Joe and his younger brother, Larry, formed Horning Brothers. With a two-room office in the Tower Building on K Street, they began with constructing a nine-unit walk-up apartment building in Anacostia.

Deeply committed to the neighborhoods of Washington, DC, Joe built a range of housing serving diverse communities in nearly every Ward in the city. Over a career spanning sixty years, he collaborated with and supported non-profit community development corporations from Anacostia to North Capitol Street to Columbia Heights. Joe forged numerous public-private partnerships with Mayoral administrations beginning with Walter Washington up through Muriel Bowser. Attuned to affordable housing challenges in Washington, DC, he worked alongside and hired people who shared his commitment to the entire city, with a particular focus on Black people and their communities. Two of his projects received numerous awards and recognition for their community impact: Tivoli Square, a mixed-use historic redevelopment in Columbia Heights and Stanton Commons, a community center in Anacostia that is home to Martha’s Table and Community of Hope.

Joe Horning actively engaged in social causes, particularly education. He served on Boards of the Higher Achievement Program, Live It Learn it, the DC Public Charter School, The Black Student Fund, Washington Middle School for Girls, and his beloved Mount Saint Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where he majored in History, and wrote a column called “Good Morning with Joe Horning.”

Joe was a deeply spiritual man, whose compassion guided a commitment to better the lives of those marginalized and less fortunate than he was.

He and his wife, Lynne, were celebrated as Washingtonians of the Year in 2002 for their active engagement in causes related to social justice, education, and the arts. In 2005, they were recognized by the Washington Interfaith Conference for their dedication to community service. The business he and his brother Larry founded continues to thrive in the city and surrounding neighborhoods.

Joe is survived by his wife, Lynne, and a large family including his children, Joseph Horning III, Missy Young, Andrew Horning and John Horning, their spouses and nine grandchildren.



We extend our heartfelt condolences to the Horning family during this difficult time, and we join the community in mourning the loss of a true visionary and leader.