Ryan Ross Horn was married with a sprig of rosemary in his lapel.  

Grieving friends and family wore the same at his Oct. 20 memorial.

“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance,” read the Shakespeare quote (from “Hamlet”) on signs posted around the Glenn & Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center in Hillsboro, where the service took place.  by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Friends and family members packed the Walters Cultural Arts Center to celebrate the life of Ryan Horn Sunday.

Ryan, who apparently took his own life, left the home he shared with his mother Aug. 29 and became the subject of a three-county search until his red Ford Ranger was located Oct. 8. Authorities found his body partially submerged in a creek about 60 yards from the vandalized vehicle.

The nature lover passed away amid old-growth trees and a babbling creek. Ryan would have turned 29 on Oct. 17.    

Sunday’s Celebration of Life focused on Ryan’s caring personality and the many lives he touched with his benevolence and humor, despite the heavy burdens upon his own heart.

“There is so often a stigma in our country that men are supposed to be strong and brave and not mention that there are things that haunt them mentally,” said Ryan’s father, Brent Horn, after the service. “They try to keep it at bay by their own ways. They try to sometimes mask it with — it could be anything. It could be nature, it could be religion. [Ryan] tried to find something that gave him his solid foundation. He had that in his family, but ... he lost the war to mental illness.”Family members assembled mementos of his life and the things he loved, including music, hackeysack and nature.

Brent Horn added that although his son struggled with a bi-polar disorder, he was also “a beautiful, beautiful person in every way.”

“He was intelligent, honest, had integrity, loved others, helped others, listened deeply and empathetically to others,” his father said.

As a child, Ryan was playful and loving, said his sister, Cornelius resident Jessica Horn Bledsoe. As an adult, he doted on his nieces and nephews, who lovingly referred to him as “Uncle Dude.”  

He was a student of world religions and philosophy who graduated from Southern Oregon University in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a certificate in nonprofit management.

While in his senior year at the university, he became engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Kristie Noonan, who now lives in Helena, Mont. Their marriage ended earlier this year.

Ryan loved music and gardening, Bledsoe said. He played guitar and other instruments and wrote his own songs. And he mused about having enough property for a large garden and goats.  

“He was a leader. He was intelligent,” said close friend Kyle Taylor, who told stories of Ryan’s intellect at Genentech, and of his well-known sense of humor. People gravitated toward Ryan and his infectious smile, Taylor said.

Brother Nicholas Horn-Rollins stood grieving beside his wife, Marie, who read his prepared statement.

“Ryan, like all people worth knowing, was wonderfully complex. Beyond the world of electronics, Ryan found deep meaning in religious books, diverse spiritual views, philosophy and the great outdoors.”

Nicholas and Ryan shared a “spiritual connection to the outdoors” and spent lots of time hiking together in Alaska, where the family once lived. The elder brother had planned to send Ryan a ticket to visit him in Alaska next summer for a hiking trip they’d planned years ago.

“When you lose someone, you lose a lot of what you had, but you also lose what you could have had,” he said.

The family thanked volunteers and law enforcement personnel who spent time searching, praying and supporting them during the 40-day ordeal.

Ryan’s sister, Amy Higgins, read a few tributes from the Facebook page set up by the family during the search. Some writers had never met Ryan personally, but were moved by his family’s response.

“What I want to tell you is I have seen how much your family loves. I have been inspired to tell people around me how much I love them because I read your posts,” wrote one person. Another suggested planting a plant in Ryan’s honor, to add to the beauty he had seen in the NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Jessica Horn Bledsoe of Cornelius speaks at the Celebration of Life for her brother, Ryan Horn.

Higgins concluded by quoting children’s television personality Fred Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing there are still so many helpers; so many caring people in the world.”

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