Todd Alan Horne died at home in Arlington, VA, on Wednesday, January 10, 2018, after a 2 ½ year battle with pancreatic cancer. Born May 8, 1968, in Fairfax, VA, and raised in Springfield, VA, Todd lost his mother, Ethel (Wissman) to the same terrible disease when he was 21. After graduating from Elon University with a degree in business administration, Todd stumbled into a career in logistics when a temp agency placed him at Matrix International, an Alexandria, VA-based freight forwarder that specializes in support for humanitarian aid agencies. After 10 years at Matrix, Todd joined USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), where for the past 17 years he orchestrated the movement of relief supplies across the globe to aid victims of natural and man-made disasters. In his role at OFDA, Todd helped countless numbers of people around the world in their times of greatest need; inspired coworkers with his kindness, humor, and passion; and, most importantly, met the lovely and indomitable Giselle Zimmerman in 2002.
Todd and Giselle were married in May 2005 in a rooftop ceremony overlooking the Nation’s Capital on a night lit by a spectacular lightning display. In 2006, they and their faithful hound, Loggie, welcomed son Jack. Three years later, daughter Giuliana completed the Horne family. Over the next few years, Todd’s logistics skills began their greatest test: juggling the demands of career and an unpredictable schedule of disasters along with those of two active children. In addition to growing their household, Todd and Giselle also cultivated a loving and devoted network of family, work, neighborhood, and “old” friends, a network that helped provide logistical support during periods of extended work travel or late nights on call. When Todd was diagnosed with stage II pancreatic cancer in 2015, that network kicked into action to aid the family.
Todd was determined to survive and to live life as normally as possible, working, coaching, and traveling throughout his treatment, which sometimes involved extended stays at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, where he was lovingly cared for by his mother-in-law and partner in crime, Cristina. In 2016, the cancer had metastasized, and Todd became a stage IV patient. Driven to help others as always, Todd decided to fight his disease on a larger front and entered Team Horne in the 2017 PurpleStride Walk to End Pancreatic Cancer. It’s no surprise that Todd’s passion—and wonderful community of family and friends—resulted in Team Horne being the top fundraiser for the DC area event or that Todd actually ran, committed to showing that it’s possible to live an active life even with stage IV cancer. It’s also no surprise that the night before Todd died, he set up the Team Horne page for the 2018 event after telling Giselle that his wish was for the team to raise even more money this year.
Todd was preceded in death by both his parents, having lost his father, Thomas “Tuck” Horne, in 2015. He is survived by wife Giselle Zimmerman and their two children, Jack and Giuliana Horne (Arlington, VA); his brother, Timothy Horne, and sister-in-law Tracey Schmitz-Horne (Phoenix, AZ); mother-in-law Cristina Zimmerman (Rochester, MN); brother- and sister-in-law Paul Zimmerman and Yelena Rakic (New York, NY); sister- and brother-in-law Vanessa and Joel Merry (Crystal, MN); nephews Matthew Horne (Atlanta, GA), Armando Zimmerman (New York, NY), and Bruce and Jon Paul Merry (Crystal, MN); niece Xenia Zimmerman (New York, NY); and a host of other family members, friends, coworkers, and neighbors who will miss him dearly.
Visitation will be held from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Friday, January 19, 2018, at Advent Funeral & Cremation Services, 7211 Lee Highway, Falls Church, VA 22046, and there will be a celebration of Todd’s life at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, January 21, 2018, at Lyon Park Community Center, 414 North Fillmore Street, Arlington, VA 22201. In lieu of flowers, please consider supporting Team Horne through a donation or by joining the team for the June 9, 2018 PanCAN PurpleStride walk: http://bit.ly/2D4xfxS