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Julius “Boo” Hornstein, PhD, 82, of Savannah, Georgia and husband of Iris Levin Hornstein, died Sunday morning, September 1, 2019, at Memorial University Medical Center.

Born in Savannah, Georgia, he was a son of the late Yetta and Morris Hornstein. Julius attended Massie Elementary School and graduated from Savannah High School in 1955. He attended Armstrong Junior College and Emory University and received his Bachelor’s degree in History from Georgia Southern University. After completing his undergraduate degree, he took the Directors position at the Kicklighter School in Savannah. Julius went on to obtain his MSW from the University of Georgia, and his PhD in the Behavioral Sciences from Florida Institute of Technology.

For many years he practiced in Savannah and served as a college professor at Savannah State, Armstrong University, Emery Riddle, and St. Leo University. He later authored two books, one on Jazz and the other a children’s book entitled Jumbo Bear & His Amazing Home Run.

Julius was a consummate community volunteer. Among his volunteer endeavors, he was a radio announcer for public radio. He was instrumental in starting the Coastal Jazz Association and the Savannah Jazz Festival. Later, Julius was inducted into the Coastal Jazz Hall of Fame.

He is preceded in death by his parents and brother, Robert Hornstein.

Julius, affectionately known as “Boo” is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Iris Levin Hornstein; sister, Helen Pearlmutt of Chapel Hill, North Carolina; sister-in-law, Joan Vitner of Atlanta, Georgia, and uncle to a host of loving nieces and nephews.

Boo is loved and will be remembered for his unique ways and the way he always followed his heart. To quote his nephew David, “He was the coolest dude I know”.

PLEASE NOTE TIME CHANGE: The funeral service will be held at 4 o’clock today (MONDAY) at the graveside, Bonaventure Cemetery, conducted by Rabbi Robert W. Haas.

Remembrances may be made to: Massie Heritage Center – 207 East Gordon Street, Savannah, Georgia 31401-5003 or to a charity of the donor’s choice.

Online Condolences

  1. Amy Aronson says:

    My sincere condolences on the passing of Boo. I will remember him fondly as we often spoke of our academic careers and enjoyed sharing stories at family events. I would be at the graveside service if it weren’t for this impending hurricane. Sending my loving thoughts and prayers for Iris and the rest of the family.
    Amy Aronson

  2. Lindsey P and Ursula Henderson says:

    Our heart is saddened by his passing.
    He will be missed.
    Our prayers are with the family.

  3. Stacy Jennings says:

    Our collective hearts are broken. Dr. Boo will be remembered as one of Savannah’s icons. There is no one who knew the city as he did..:or who gave as much. I will miss him immensely. May his memory be for a blessing.

  4. Monica McMasters says:

    My deepest condolences. What a wonderful man

  5. Carolyn Woods-Usher Oxenrider says:

    Dear Iris:

    Please accept our deepest sympathy in your bereavement. I have been inspired by his lectures and the definitive book on jazz, and know he will be truly missed.


  6. Paula Fogarty says:

    On behalf of the Coastal Jazz Association and the Savannah Jazz Festival, our heartfelt condolences to Boo’s family and all he touched. If not for his efforts, there would be no Savannah Jazz Festival and the lives of so many would not be as enriched. We are forever indebted to his contributions to the history and lifr of jazz music in Savannah.

  7. Ed and Kristen Taylor says:

    Heartfelt condolences to Iris and the rest of Boo’s family and friends. Kristen and I consider ourselves truly blessed to have had the honor to know Boo. He was a living treasure to Savannah and will be missed. Boo, and Iris, will stay in our prayers.

  8. Chief Mark Revenew (ret) says:

    We have known each other since the 80’s You were instrumental in my education and later my career. Your compassion and wit we’ll never be forgotten. Your contributions to educating countless students about being a good human being will reverberate throughout generations. You will be missed.
    Chief Mark Revenew(ret)

  9. Donna Minkovitz Darracott says:

    I haven’t seen Boo in a long time but will always remember him at TYB ramblinrambling down the beach talking to everyone he knew. I always looked forward to those conversations.
    he was such a unique person.
    Iris and family, so sorry for your loss. you will be in our prayers.
    Bless you,
    Donna Minkovitz Darracott

  10. Tony Cope says:

    Boo Hornstein’s many accomplishments were discussed in his obituary as they should be, but he was much more to me than what he did and what he stood for.
    Boo and I were friends for 80 years. Before we could talk our nurses took us together to the Big Park in carriages. Growing up on Gaston he was in our house probably more than he was in his own and was as much a brother as my four brothers. To my wife Ellen, also a former Gaston resident, and to me, Boo was Savannah and was certainly for our generation and those that followed, Mr Gaston Street. He was born at 204 E. Gaston and was still living there when he died. I related a number of funny and a few sad stories of our shared youth in a memoir published in 2013, but there are so many more. So many that i would like to share and hopefully some day maybe some of those who knew him can get together and share those stories and out love for him. Some one who read that memoir told Boo that he was mentioned more times than the author. Deservedly so.
    Even though we have been living in Ireland for 27 years, the friendship continued…on our visits to Savannah, for many years by email and over the last year or so with weekly telephone conversations. Distance never dimmed our friendship or our love for each other.
    Boo may have died, but for me he is not gone. He will always be hold a major place in my memories. Our love and our thoughts are with iris.

  11. Irwin and Katie says:

    Dear Iris:

    Katie and I are so very sorry for your loss, and while we did not have the pleasure of spending much time with you and Boo in recent years, we know what a kind, smart and humorous individual he was and in memory will always be. Fondly, Irwin and Katie Pollack

  12. Howard Paul says:

    I’m deeply saddened by Boo’s passing. Among one of the first and most compelling people I met when I arrived in Savannah, he was filled with enthusiasm and deep knowledge of the diverse music community that makes the city so vibrant. I worked with him on the one-and-only Tybee Jazz and Blues Festival in 1996. His leadership and historical perspective provided the life-blood of the Coastal Jazz Association, and his presence was always welcomed at the festival and during concerts. As president of the CJA, and as a friend and fellow jazz lover, I know our entire community will miss Boo’s presence, and cherish our memories.

  13. brenda elman salter says:


  14. Audrey Platt says:

    Dear Iris:
    “Boo” was such a wonderful man. Every time I saw him, I smiled. He had that gift of giving happiness to others. He will be missed in the neighborhood, in the jazz world, and by all of Savannah. I send love and sorrow that he has left us.

  15. Louisa Abbot says:

    Except for the near constant presence of a baseball cap, Boo seemed “Old World.” With his gentle sweetness, he conveyed kindness. His eyes looked at you as if he had seen much in his life, but also revealed his liveliness and curiosity. He put children at ease and helped so many of them.

    His and Iris’ attachment was gravitational and they complemented each other perfectly.

    His love for her, both their kin and the city of Savannah made Boo happy. He, in turn, made everyone who knew him, adore him.

    This town is not the same without him but Savannah is a much richer place to have had such a citizen.

    Love to Iris, his beautiful wife, friend and helpmeet.

  16. Anne Halligan Jurgensen Horstman says:

    Dear Iris:
    I was so saddened to see Boo’s obituary..Despite being gone from Savannah for almost 35 years, I have such fond memories of both of you….please accept my deepest sympathy on your loss…and a loss for the city and his many, many friends…..fondly, Anne

  17. walter langston says:

    i first met boo at a savannah indian baseball game at grayson stadium in the early 1950s i have a newspaper clipping from the savh mornibg news that mentioned boo and i had the best picks for the major league all star game in 1954 we shared a love of baseball and music boo was an extremely nice person very intelligent we followed the great jazz musicians in savh for many years i am very sad about boo’s passing


    Our hearts are saddened to hear of Boo’s passing. We enjoyed many conversations with him while he & Iris would
    come in for car service. We will miss him. To know him was to love him. Our thoughts & prayers are with you, Iris & family. Leland & Angie, John & family, Payton & family

  19. Walton Nussbaum says:

    Have wonderful memories of Boo and the neighborhood gang going back to the six grade at Massie. Boo was a good friend and will be missed by all who knew him. Iris, my thoughts are with you during this time of your loss. Walton

  20. Sally Kaplan says:

    Iris, so sorry to hear about Boo’s passing. My sincere sympathy to you and may you hold on to all the good memories that you shared. Fondly, Sally

  21. Hedda Ginsberg says:

    Iris and family. Bo used to tell me that he babysat for me. Of course I don’t remember. But he had such a good neshoma. He helped so many people throughout his life and was so good at it. I will never forget his kindness to my family and others. My heartfelt sympathies go out to you and your family

  22. hedda center says:

    Iris and family. Bo used to tell me that he babysat for me. Of course I don’t remember. But he had such a good neshoma. He helped so many people throughout his life and was so good at it. I will never forget his kindness to my family and others. My heartfelt sympathies go out to you and your family

  23. Lisa Harkleroad Boswell says:

    Iris I am so sorry to hear about Boo. I’ve been out of town due to the evacuation and just catching up. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  24. Fran Harold says:

    I was so sorry to have just learned of Boo’s passing. I have known and admired him and Iris since I moved to Savannah in the early 80’s. I lived down the street from them on Gaston Street and frequently ran into them on walks around downtown. Boo was truly a one of a kind individual. His presentations on local jazz legends were mesmerizing. His passing is a huge loss for Savannah. My deepest sympathy and love to Iris and the family.

  25. Lysbeth Moore says:

    I just heard of Dr. Hornstein “Boo” passing. He was a very sweet man. Colleague and friend. I’ve missed him the last year at Saint Leo University where I teach. He always brightened my day and told me funny stories. RIP….

    Prof Moore
    Saint Leo University

  26. John David Hopkins says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about the passing of my dad’s old friend, who was “Uncle Boo” to me as a small child. He was such a good and kind man. My sympathies to all his friends and family.

  27. Deborah Stevens Hamilton says:

    I am sad to learn of the death of another charming, accomplished, and unique person who made my years in Savannah in the 1980s and early 1990’s so memorable. My sincere condolences to Boo’s family and his many friends and colleagues.
    Deborah Stevens Hamilton
    Blacksburg, VA

  28. Gary & Anthony says:

    Dear Iris, What a pleasure & treat for us to have known Boo. Please know you are in our thoughts & prayers.

  29. Andrea S Kirkland says:

    I just saw the tribute to Dr. Hornstein at St. Leo Savannah Center and realized he had transitioned. He was such a sweet man and an amazing professor. He had a wealth of information within him. I am praying for his wife and family.

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