William Franklin Horton

Date of Birth

July 5, 1926

Date of Death

February 2, 2009

City of Death


William Franklin Horton, loving husband, father and friend, passed away on February 2, 2009 following an injury he suffered in a fall at the Berry-Horton Ranch in Carpinteria. Born in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina on July 5, 1926, he was 82. Known as Bill, he was the son of Archibald and Bernice Horton and a descendant of the Andrew Bailard and C. Bernard Franklin pioneers in the Carpinteria Valley.

Bill is survived by his wife of 32 years, Glenna Berry-Horton, also known as Glenna Luschei in the poetry, arts and publishing communities. Bill leaves behind his daughter Theresa Duer and her husband Greg Duer of Santa Ynez, California; daughter Katherine Horton, her husband Kiyoshi and their children, Sarah and Ken Ichimura, of Tokyo, Japan; daughter Susan Horton and her husband Gary Grinsell and their son, Aaron Grinsell, of Villa Park, California; stepson Erich Luschei and his wife Laurie and their children, Daniel, Ashleigh and Savannah of San Clemente California; stepdaughter Gabriela Luschei and her husband Jim Mathews and their daughter, Melissa, of Manhattan, New York; and stepson Thomas Luschei and his wife Yasmin and their daughter, Linda, of Tallahassee, Florida. Bill was predeceased by his parents and stepdaughter Linda Luschei.

Bill earned a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science Degree in Engineering from the California Institute of Technology and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of California Los Angeles. He was an ensign in the Navy during World War II. After the war, his work in private industry included developing an aviation autopilot with William Powell Lear, Sr. In 1968, he joined the faculty of the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, as a Professor of Electrical Engineering, teaching until 1998. He also served as the Associate and Acting Dean of the School of Engineering. While at Cal Poly, Bill and his good friend and colleague Dr. Saul Goldberg, founded Power Systems Consultants and together consulted for utility and other companies with complex technical power distribution systems. Together, Bill and Dr. Goldberg published more than 50 technical papers, including an authoritative work on electromagnetic fields and their public health implications.

Bill also dedicated himself to ranching, successfully raising avocados on his ranch in Carpinteria. He enjoyed the challenge of building a successful agricultural business while ensuring the ongoing beauty and health of the property. He and Glenna established a public walking trail on the Berry-Horton Ranch and a conservation easement with the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County to preserve the property for years to come.

Bill lived a full and generous life, contributing to the communities in which he lived, including their civic, educational and charitable organizations. He served on the Grand Jury for the County of San Luis Obispo and the Board of Directors of the Red Cross for the County of Santa Barbara. He was a docent at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and the Carpinteria Historical Society. He also remained active with Caltech, including supporting his alma mater through Caltech Associates.

Please celebrate Bill’s life with his family and friends on March 21, 2009 at 1 p.m. at the Berry-Horton Ranch, 5148 Foothill Road, Carpinteria. Directions to the service may be found on the Solo Cafe website, http://www.solopress.org

In recognition of Bill’s love of the land and his commitment to the work of the Sierra Club, donations may be made to the Sierra Club, Los Padres Chapter, P.O. Box 31241, Santa Barbara, CA 93130-1241

I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. –Etienne de Grellet


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