Official Obituary of

LTC Christopher E. Hornbarger, Retired

January 2, 1968 ~ March 21, 2024 (age 56) 56 Years Old

LTC Christopher Hornbarger, Retired Obituary

LTC Christopher E. Hornbarger (Chris), U.S. Army (Ret.), was born in Columbus, Ohio, on January 2, 1968, to LTC Daniel H. Hornbarger, USA (Ret.), and Susanne Hornbarger.

Chris was born in Columbus, Ohio while his father completed his Master’s degree studies to teach at West Point.  After spending his early years at West Point, NY, Chris grew up in Melrose, MA.  During his childhood he avidly pursued passions that he maintained throughout his life, including playing guitar, drawing, reading, and writing.  Chris graduated from Melrose High School in 1986.  He attended Princeton University on an Army ROTC Scholarship, graduating in 1990, followed by commissioning as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and training as a Cobra attack helicopter pilot.

Chris served an extensive 20-year career in the Army, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2010.  During his career, he served in the Republic of Korea; Fort Drum, NY; Haiti; Somalia; the Pentagon; the White House Office of Homeland Security; West Point, NY; Iraq; and MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.  His duties spanned a variety of roles: aviator and troop commander; staff officer; White House Director for Policy and Plans; Assistant Professor of American Politics; and strategic planner. Notable during this period were the 9/11 attacks of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon (where Chris was at work in his second Pentagon tour of duty at the time). He also completed a mid-career fellowship to earn his Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. His military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Presidential Service Badge, and the Combat Action Badge, among others.

During Chris’ assignment at Ft. Drum, NY, he met his wife, Elizabeth.  They were married at the Fort Drum Main Chapel. Chris and Elizabeth formed a family of three children over the years, whom he loved dearly. Army life took the family all around the country. Chris found immense joy in the love and companionship of his family, who were the greatest source of pride and happiness in his life.  

Also, during this time, Chris’ struggle with bipolar disorder began, which had profound effects for him and his family for the rest of his life.  It was his wish that this be included to further destigmatize mental illness and encourage others to seek help. With the support of his family and armed with education about the illness, Chris lived a full and beautiful life.

Following his Army service, Chris served six years as Executive System Administrator of Beth’s high school alma mater, Immaculate Heart Central School in Watertown, NY, and completed a second Masters in Educational Leadership from the College of St. Rose in Albany, earning his certification as a School District Leader from the New York State Department of Education.  In 2016, Chris transitioned to the Federal civil service with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (where he received care and felt at home) at the San Francisco VA Health Care System.

Surviving besides his, mother, Suzanne, Cortland Manor, NY, wife, Elizabeth, two sons, John (Sarah Mae), Liverpool, NY, Jake (Noel Acor), Ithaca, NY, a daughter Sarah, Los Angeles, CA, a brother, Daniel (Leslie), Cortland Manor, NY, their two children, Chloe Hornbarger, Boston, MA, Cameron Hornbarger, Boston, MA, three aunts, Marge Cotter, Rhode Island, Julie Panty, Buffalo, NY, Elaine Panty, Buffalo, NY, mother -in-law, Barbara O’Brien, Watertown, NY, two brothers-in-law, Timothy (Michele) O’Brien, their children, Jordan O’Brien, Daniel O’Brien, and Aidan O’Brien, all of Pittsford, NY, Thomas (Kathy) O’Brien, Cicero, NY, their children Brandon O’Brien, Rochester NY, Hannah O’Brien, Indianapolis IN. Chris’s father Daniel H. Hornbarger died in 2020. Chris’s Father-in-Law Timothy R. O’Brien died in 2016.

His lifelong heroes were all honorable men and women: his father and mother, his Granddaddy Earl Hampton and Mema Charlotte Hornbarger, and his Grandpa Tibor and Gramma Margaret (“Mancie”) Panty.

Calling hours will be Thursday, April 4, 2024 from 4-6:30 pm at the D.L. Calarco Funeral Home, Inc. A funeral mass will be held Friday, April 5, 2024 at 10am at St. Patrick’s Church, 123 So. Massey Street, Watertown. Burial will follow in Glenwood Cemetery, with military honors.

In lieu of flowers the family requests contributions may be made to the Disabled American Veterans Association, PO Box 14301, Cincinnati, Ohio 45250-0301.


Online condolences may be made to

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of LTC Christopher E. Hornbarger, Retired, please visit our floral store.

Friends and family have shared their relationship to show their support.
How do you know LTC Christopher E. Hornbarger, Retired?
We are sorry for your loss.
Help others honor LTC Christopher's memory.


April 4, 2024

4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
D.L Calarco Funeral Home, Inc.
135 Keyes Avenue Watertown
Watertown, NY 13601

Funeral Mass
April 5, 2024

10:00 AM
St. Patrick's Church
123 S. Massey Street
Watertown, NY 13601


Disabled American Veterans Association
PO Box 14301, Cincinnati OH 45250-0301


© 2024 D.L Calarco Funeral Home, Inc.. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility