Reflections from Thomas Jefferson High School classmates

Reflections from:

Lauren (Bertini) Patterson (click here)

Garret Christensen (click here)

Katie Jaron (click here)

Emily Pan (click here)

from other classmates:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Horne,

I just wanted to send you my deepest condolences for the loss of Ben; I am truly shocked and saddened by the news. I was a high school class mate of Ben's at TJ- we had freshman Geometry together and were locker neighbors all four years...Ben taught me how to keep my locker unlocked by jamming a stack of pennies under the bottom latch so I could save time and wouldn't be late for class (a chronic problem of mine!). We even went on a couple of dates senior year; Ben took me to the senior class play- I remember when he finally worked up the courage to hold my's a sweet memory I will always have of one of the sweetest guys I ever met. We lost touch after high school and just recently reconnected on Facebook. I was so impressed with all of his adventures- traveling the world, running marathons- he seemed to truly be living life to the fullest. I was devastated to read the news on Facebook this weekend. I just wanted to reach out and let you know your son was one of the kindest, most genuine people I have ever met. Even though our friendship was brief, it made an impact on me. I'm married now and we are expecting our first child this October- a girl....I hope she will be lucky enough to meet a guy like Ben in high school. Please take care and stay strong during this difficult time. 

With my deepest sympathies,

Mollie Ifshin

TJHSST Class of '98


We met briefly outside the church today.  I was in the Class of '98 with Ben at TJ.  We didn't have any classes together, nor did we share any extracurriculars, but I knew Ben just as everyone in our class did: as a great guy.  He was this amazing athlete who happened to look like someone out of a California surfing magazine and he was incredibly nice.  To EVERYONE.  He always dressed up for spirit days, he painted himself for Homecoming senior year, he was unfailingly friendly in the hallway.  In fact, I have a very distinct memory of him walking down the halls with James Horner (before James had a growth spurt) and couldn't help but notice two very blond boys of very different heights.

I probably only said hello to Ben at TJ.  My latest interaction with him was leading up to our 10-year reunion in 2008.  I was trying to find everyone on Facebook and sent him a message because I wasn't sure he was the right Ben Horne.  Through that facebook friendship, I got to see his amazing pictures of his many adventures.  I didn't start reading his blog until recently; there is so much to learn and I will keep reading. 

I would have like to have asked him for advice about how to be so true to yourself and your Catholic faith, and how to talk about it with other people.  He is an extraordinary person.  You have an extraordinary family.  I hope that my two little sons can grow up with the same fervent belief and open mind that he had, and that we can be as close as you all are. 

Many of us in the Class of '98 weren't able to come today and yesterday but we all feel the loss profoundly.  You are in our hearts and prayers and we will never forget Ben.


Di Johnston


I knew Ben from high school, and although I didn't have many classes with him, I remember that he was an absolutely amazing person.  He just had this energetic glow about him.  And I'll always remember him sitting in the hallway, with his curly blond hair, studying away with other students.  He was certainly a work hard / play hard type of person.  He was magnetic and had so many friends.  

I haven't seen Ben since high school, but upon hearing about his trip in Peru on Facebook, I've enjoyed looking at all of the pictures of Ben in the mountains.  You must be so proud of him - I know everyone is.  He accomplished so much, athletically and academically, in his lifetime.  He will live on through everyone who was fortunate enough to meet him.

My thoughts and prayers are with you, Ben and your family.  I can't imagine how you are managing as well as you are.  Ben was a very special person, and I feel privileged to have known him, even for a brief time, and experience his positive energy and outlook.  What a guy!  

My Dad passed away in 2009 after battling cancer, and I'm sure that he has welcomed Ben, with open arms, in Heaven.  My Dad was a Catholic Priest, before meeting and marrying my Mom.  Very positive, always smiling...just like Ben.  I'm sure they have met and are good friends by now.  I know it helps me to think that my loved ones are not alone in Heaven - that they are part of a larger community of friends, having a good time, and are watching us, and cheering us on, from above.  


Josie Durkin

Associate Professor of Art

Texas A&M University - Commerce