Jeanette Horner, 79, a former secretary who became a part owner of a heating and cooling business and who, in her 50s, became a sheet metal journeyman, died of cancer on Tuesday in the Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg Township.
Mrs. Horner, formerly of Perrysburg Township and Whitehouse, retired in 1996 when Horner Heating was sold. She became a co-owner in the early 1980s after she married James Horner, whose father, Clarence, founded the firm in the 1930s.
She began by organizing the office. Soon she had other duties: She was handy. She had experience building things. And she had another attribute useful in furnace and duct work.
"She was tiny," her daughter, Mary Beth Vanderstelt, said. "I know it seems funny, but she could fit into places that Jim couldn't go."
After an apprenticeship, she became a sheet metal journeyman and was licensed to work in Ohio and Michigan. She planned jobs and, on site, was good at bending sheet metal and fabricating.
"A lot of their customers were older people who owned their homes but needed something more modern for efficiency," her daughter said. "She was personable, so people liked her right away. She was honest as they come, and so was Jim. That's another reason she was happy to be part of the business."
Mrs. Horner grew up in Whitehouse and was a graduate of the former Harriet Whitney Vocational High School in Toledo. In about 1960, she became a secretary for O.M. Scott & Sons, the lawn fertilizer and grass seed business. Later she was an editor of the firm's Lawn Care magazine.
She returned to Whitehouse in the late 1960s to be closer to her mother. She became a secretary for Sealed Power, a foundry in Waterville, and then became assistant director of personnel.
Most recently of Grand Rapids, Ohio, Mrs. Horner built and remodeled houses and was a quilter and seamstress. She was 70 when she learned to play the organ.
"She was always learning new things," her daughter said.
She and Mr. Horner married on Dec. 12, 1977. He died Nov. 26, 2003. She was formerly married to the late Oscar Cobb.
Surviving are her daughters, Mary Beth Vanderstelt and Julie Ann Krauss; seven grandchildren; and 24 great-grandchildren.
Visitation will take place from 3 to 8 p.m. tomorrow in the Peinert Funeral Home, Whitehouse. Graveside services, to be held later, will be private.
The family suggests tributes to the Hospice of Northwest Ohio.