Board proclaims Oct. 30 through Nov. 6 as Linda Hornbuckle Week

October 30, 2014

Linda Hornbuckle (Image courtesy of The Oregonian)
Linda Hornbuckle. Image courtesy of The Oregonian.

Song, dance and heartfelt memories were shared as a week was officially dedicated to former county health worker and “Diva of Soul” Linda Hornbuckle.

The Multnomah County board room resounded with music, laughter and some tears as the late Linda Hornbuckle was honored for her powerful performances both on-stage and off. The week of Oct. 30 through Nov. 6 was proclaimed Linda Hornbuckle Week by the Board of Commissioners, honoring the soul music matriarch and health “shero” as described by fellow public health worker, Mariotta Gary-Smith.

At the Oct. 30 board meeting Gary-Smith, a lifelong Linda Hornbuckle fan, recalled the first time she worked with Hornbuckle in the county work setting.

“Ms. Linda and I sat down to meet and I was really excited as a fan,” said Gary-Smith. “I had to remember that I was being professional. And actually I did not do that well because I was really  excited and I wanted her autograph and I was texting people like ‘Guess who I met?!’”

During her time as a Multnomah County Health Department employee, Hornbuckle worked tirelessly to promote sexual health awareness and smoke-free workplaces. Her efforts did not go unnoticed.

“The dedication and commitment she showed to her community members as she encouraged them to make choices that would improve their overall health is important regardless of the topic that she was dealing with,” continued Gary-Smith. “Be it STDs, or HIV prevention, sexuality education, parenting classes, no smoking -- all these issues mattered to her.”

Commissioner Loretta Smith and Chair Deborah Kafoury co-sponsored Thursday's proclamation which was preceded by touching testimonials from Gary-Smith, blues guitarist Norman Sylvester, Hornbuckle’s sister Pastor Sandra HornbuckleHornbuckle’s nephew Tayvon Banquet and Health Department program specialist Pam Hillar.

Multnomah County Board members, friends and family members of the late Linda Hornbuckle pose for pictures at the Oct. 30 proclamation.

“I’m really proud of her, especially over the past few years,” said Pastor Hornbuckle.  “I’ve seen a different side of her through Multnomah County. Not only does she have an amazing voice through song, she had another voice, a voice where she would share her beliefs, opinions, her love. It was through Multnomah County.”

As a health educator at Multnomah County, Hornbuckle championed the National Black AIDS Awareness Day activities, the relationship education program 4REAL and the African-American Sexual Health Program.

Through her efforts, Multnomah County Health Department was able to establish with the Albina Ministerial Alliance, the faith-house community health worker project.

“We’re here to recognize a renowned musician in a city that has produced many musicians,” said Commissioner Smith on Thursday. “But what sets Linda apart from all the many wonderful musicians is this: she was one of our own.”

“She was a humble spirit. When she walked in a room there was no fanfare,” said Hornbuckle’s former bandmate, Norman Sylvester. “She was just regular Linda. But when she got on stage and she sang, you understood why she was quiet. God blessed her with a healing voice.”

View a snippet of The Norman Sylvester Band’s performance at the Oct. 30 board meeting.