Dr. Richard Hortman

Published 3:04 pm Friday, February 1, 2019

Dr. Richard Truitte Hortman, 89, passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, in his home in Bogalusa.

He was born Oct. 8, 1929 in Shreveport, to Iva Lee and Truitte Pullen. He was later adopted by Luther Hortman, following his marriage to Iva Lee. He graduated, valedictorian, from Bolton High School where he was also First Chair E-Flat Saxophone. Following graduation, he attended Marion Military Institute of Marion, Ala. His exemplary academic record and personal characteristics, along with a congressional nomination, paved the way for Richard to be accepted to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. His rigorous curriculum included Russian language studies, igniting what would become a lifelong passion.

Acknowledging his call to medicine, Richard left the Naval Academy and finished his undergraduate studies at Louisiana State University, where he lived in the newly constructed stadium dorms. (He loved to tell this story at every LSU home game he attended!) He attended Louisiana State University Medical School in New Orleans, and graduated in 1954. After completing his internship at Charity Hospital, he did his residency with the United States Public Health Service, serving duty in Baltimore, Md.; Chicago, Ill.; Galveston, Texas; several locations within the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma; and Ellis Island, N.Y. He was especially proud of his role in the deactivation of Ellis Island.

In 1963, Dr. Hortman and his young family made their home in Bogalusa, where he opened a General Surgery/Family Practice office. He held many positions in addition to his practice, including Medical Director of Resthaven Living Center, Medical Director of Southeast Louisiana Home Health Care, Medical Director of Northshore Ambulance Service, Bogalusa Community Medical Center Chief of Staff, Bogalusa Community Medical Center’s Board of Trustees, and Clinic Physician for the Washington Parish Health Unit.

Dr. Hortman closed his private practice in 1996 and switched his medical focus to the emergency departments of Bogalusa Community Medical Center (later becoming the LSU-HSC Bogalusa Medical Center), Lally Kemp Medical Center, and the River Parishes Hospital. He also practiced within the Bogalusa Medical Center’s Minor Care Clinic, the Bogalusa High School Student Health Center, and the LSU-BMC Outpatient Campus clinics before his retirement in 2013. In his 50 years of medical practice in Washington Parish, Dr. Hortman cared for hundreds of families through multiple generations and impacted his community in countless ways. He was known for his meticulous surgical skills, efforts to teach a Russian phrase to everyone he encountered, great depth of knowledge, and his direct manner (no sugarcoating available!) that was a thin veil over the compassion he brought to his patients in their time of need. Dr. Hortman was a long-time member of the Southern Medical Association and the Washington Parish Medical Society.

Dr. Hortman exemplified servant leadership in all aspects of his life, but nowhere was it more evident than in his beloved First Presbyterian Church. In the 56 years of his membership, he served as a Sunday School teacher, Bible Study leader, Deacon, Elder, member of the choir, and cook for the Wednesday morning prayer breakfast. For everything he did in public, so many more acts of service were done privately.

Richard’s wide array of curiosities and talents, combined with his boundless energy, brought many activities and pursuits to his life. As a young man at the Naval Academy, he first played handball. He enjoyed the sport so much that he helped construct a court at the YMCA and recruited and taught many Bogalusa men to play. He loved the competition and delighted in “whipping” men many years younger than him.

Richard was an excellent dancer and competed successfully in the ballroom dancing circuit, but was even more pleased to dance with his bride, Joan, in their living room. His early musical training led to his lifelong love of classical music and enjoyment in attending the symphony and musical theatre. Richard, like any good Louisianan, loved his LSU Tigers and New Orleans Saints, lived to eat, and enjoyed all culinary pursuits. In his younger days, he was a member of Les Amis du Vin and later, sought to try many craft beers local to his travels. Woodworking was another passion for Richard. He loved making pens and bowls to gift to his favorite people. Richard travelled extensively with Joan and his family. He had a dry and silly sense of humor and was rarely without one of his trademark funny expressions, acronyms, ditties, or a goofy face.

Richard and Joan were married Sept. 21, 1984 after a decade-long courtship. Their partnership is a shining example of love, loyalty, and friendship to their children. They were quick to laugh and loved to have fun together. As a father, Richard was equally attentive and caring. He was never too busy to spend time snuggling, reading, laughing, and talking with his children.

He is survived by his wife, Joan Berry Hortman; his children, Rick Hortman of Albany, Keri Bruce (Doug) of Orlando, Fla., Pamela (Mark) McGovern of Gretna, Neb., Christopher (Joy) Hortman of Georgetown, Ky., Michael Hortman, Brian Phillips of Varnado, Ted Phillips, Alicia (Eric) Capo of Bella Vista, Ark., and Bethany (Owen) Crooks of Mandeville. He is also survived by grandchildren, April (Kyle) Hayden, Lacey Hortman, Summer Hortman, Collin (Megan) Bruce, Casey Bruce, Haley Bruce, Jordan (Emily) Glaser, Brittany (Mike) Sabutis, Ian McGovern, Andrew Russo, Lessye Capo, Austin Hartfield, Anderson Hartfield, Alexander Hartfield, and Ana Catherine Hartfield; nine great-grandchildren; and a special fur baby, Coco Hortman and a feather baby, Sam Hortman. Dr. Hortman was preceded in death by his parents.

A memorial service celebrating the gift of his life will be held Saturday, Feb. 2, at the First Presbyterian Church of Bogalusa (511 Avenue D). Visitation will be held from noon until 1 p.m., with the service beginning at 1 p.m. Following the service, a reception will be held in the Fellowship Hall of the church to continue Dr. Hortman’s Homecoming Celebration.

To honor the celebratory atmosphere, the family asks that you not wear black. Richard was a snazzy dresser and loved bright colors and patterns. If it would have made him ask you, “Is that your outfit, or is it rented?” then that is the outfit you should wear! It was his wish that donations be made to the First Presbyterian Church, the Bogalusa Help Center, or the Bogalusa YMCA, in lieu of flowers.