DALLAS, Texas (SWBTS) – Joan Horner, co-founder of Premier Designs and faithful supporter of women’s programs at Southwestern Seminary, died Dec. 5. She was 85.
Horner co-founded the Dallas-based direct sales jewelry company with her husband, Andy, in 1985. Over the past 25 years, the company has grown to more than 180,000 independent jewelers, with profits supporting Christian missions and ministries in 63 countries.
“Joan Horner exemplified the life of a godly Christian woman of unshakeable faith,” Southwestern president Paige Patterson said. “No matter how dire the circumstances nor foreboding the moment, Joan knew that her providential God would handle it all.”
Patterson’s wife, Dorothy, was a friend of Horner.
“Joan Horner has been my godly mentor and precious friend for almost four decades,” Dorothy Patterson said.
“We were kindred spirits in our love for and commitment to our families and homes as well as to the Lord Jesus. Truly Joan understood and wove into her life the fear of the Lord and gentle and quiet spirit of biblical womanhood. Not only did she impact my life personally but she also served as an example of the paradigm of biblical womanhood in my woman-to-woman lectures and writings. Heaven is sweeter with her presence. I will miss her tender heart and encouraging words, but she will remain an inspiration to me and my students.”
At Southwestern, Joan and Andy Horner have supported women’s programs, including the primary financial gift for the construction of the Horner Homemaking House on campus. Additionally, Premier Designs provides free jewelry to female graduates and wives of graduates as part of the seminary’s Dressed For Service ministry.
Horner oversaw design and jewelry selection of Premier’s product line. She also encouraged and inspired others through writing and public speaking. Prior to co-founding Premier, she worked for Home Interiors and Gifts, assisting Mary Crowley, the company’s founder.
Horner was known for her personal touch in addition to her executive leadership. According to the Premier Designs website, Joan said, "My mission in life is very simple: to keep it personal. That's also my mission for the Premier Designs family. So much of modern living is high tech and high speed, yet our culture is lacking in the social graces and relational touches. The corporate world is high tech, too, with the end goal of making a profit as fast as you can and as efficiently as you can. Our purpose at Premier Designs is to influence people’s lives, not just their pocketbooks, and to build relationships. People are always more important than profits. People are our greatest asset!"
Horner is survived by her husband of 64 years, Andy, five children, 14 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.