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Horace Loftin, Jr, 1928 - 2021


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Horace G. Loftin Jr., 93, of Greenville, formerly of Beaufort, died Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, at Vidant Health in Greenville.

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Horace was born in Beaufort to Sadie Lee Henderson Loftin and Horace G. Loftin Sr. He graduated with a bachelor of science from Duke University. He earned a master’s degree in journalism, a master’s degree in biology and a doctorate in biology from Florida State University. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army.

In 1955, he married his soul mate, Janice Keller Loftin, in Duke University Chapel. They had three children, Rex, Laura and Tomas. In 1961, the family moved to the Panama Canal Zone, where Horace taught classes in the Florida State University branch campus. He also worked in administration for the Panama Canal Co. as an environmental specialist. The family returned to the U.S. in 1977. He worked various jobs as an environmental advisor for North Carolina and the U.S. Department of Health and Urban Development. He finished his public service with the Department of the Navy in Panama City, Fla. He retired from civil service in 1993.

In 2003, Horace moved back to his hometown of Beaufort. In 2014, he moved to Cypress Glen Retirement Community in Greenville. He maintained his Beaufort home for monthly visits.

Horace was a renowned ornithologist, specializing in the birds of Panama and Central America. He was a founding member of the Panama Audubon Society and the Panama Anthropological Society. He had many adventures in the jungles of Panama. He continued his lifelong passion for birding by traveling to six continents on many birdwatching expeditions during his retirement. His life list of birds seen put him in the top 5% of birders in the world.

Another passion Horace enjoyed was celebrating his Scottish heritage. He helped to found the Clan Henderson Society. He was the Clan genealogist for many years. He served one term as society president.

His greatest interest during his retirement was genealogy, especially for Carteret County and eastern North Carolina. While living in Beaufort in retirement, he became very active with The History Place Museum, now the Carteret County History Museum, in Morehead City. He spent thousands of hours in the genealogical library of the museum helping others trace their family history in the area.

Horace loved to travel. In his later years, he enjoyed small ship cruising. He said he could sit in the bow of the ship with binoculars in one hand and a “wee dram” in the other and watch the world go by.

Horace is survived by his sons, Rex Loftin and wife Karen and Tomas Loftin; grandchildren, Richard Wilkins and wife Gina, Jeanette Connor and husband James, Ashley Hyman and husband Nat, Daniel Wilkins and wife Kristen, Kevin Loftin, Shawn Wilkins and Kyle Wilkins; four great-grandchildren; and cousins, Billy Evans and wife Lil and Tom Halvosa and wife Reina.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Janice; and his daughter, Laura.

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