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Horatio Thomas Jennings, III was born in Brooklyn, New York, on August 21, 1959. On December 6, 2023, he died from natural causes and departed our world in the privacy of his home. Horatio was the second of three children born during the marriage of Mary Vicki McCain and Horatio Jennings, II. In 1960, his father, an architectural engineer, designed a new home and relocated the family to Westbury, Long Island, where Horatio spent his developing years. In his youth, he was a happy child with a loving spirit who adored his parents and sisters, Radine and Arlene. He was an easy-going child, quick to smile and make friends. Throughout his life, Horatio had severe allergies. Overcoming these challenges developed his resilience, tenacity, and patience. Horatio grew up attending church and learned early in life that he was a child of God and blessed with a life that had a purpose beyond himself. Christian parents reared him, and Christian relatives nurtured him. The family was active, and Horatio completed his confirmation in the Redeemer Lutheran Church of Old Westbury.
His parents divorced during adolescence, and he took on the man's role. He looked for ways to help his mother in the house and in caring for his younger sister. He was serious about his role and in doing his chores. His mother married Dr. Sheldon Wacksman in 1977, and the couple purchased a home in Dix Hills, Long Island, to accommodate the combined family. After the divorce, Horatio's paternal father was not active in his life. Shelly, or "Doc," as Horatio affectionately called him, more than filled the void. He loved and treated him as his son, and their love and respect for each other was beyond measure. His last conversation in life was with his "Doc".
Horatio's love for videography emerged from a part-time work experience in high school.
For middle and high school, his mother enrolled him in the Long Island Lutheran Middle and High School in Old Westbury for a Christ-centered college preparatory education. As a student in the school's work-study program, he got a job with a local photographer who was adding a video service to his business during his senior year. It was a blessing in disguise. He assisted in every aspect of the venture, including buying and installing the equipment. He learned editing fundamentals and gained an inside look at the photography business and video programming. The experience ignited a passion in him that would last a lifetime.
Horatio graduated high school in 1977 and entered The New York Institute of Technology College of Arts and Science in Old Westbury, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts. While in college, he met Jill Tappan. They dated throughout college and were engaged to be married by their senior year. In 1984, Horatio and Jill married and bought a home in Plainfield, New Jersey. The couple had two children, Victoria and Brieana. Horatio was an active and loving father. He enjoyed parenting, planning family trips, and watching them grow. In 1987, the family became members of 2nd Baptist Cathedral Church in Perth Amboy, N.J. Horatio led the Audio Technician Ministry, which produced the church's audiovisual program. The couple dissolved their marriage, but not their vital parenting roles for their daughters Victoria and Brieana. Both completed college and are active in church ministries and the community. He was a proud father to the end.
Horatio's first job after college was with Cablevision Long Island, working on one of the first 24-hour news programs. While there, CNN recruited him for their editing team. In 1983, Cable technology was in its infancy. Horatio's desire for career opportunities led him to resign from CNN and accept a "network" position at WWOR- Channel 9 TV. During his 40-year tenure, there were changes in ownership, call letters, logo, and title. His passion for producing award-winning programs and genuine respect for team efforts did not change. Horatio loved the broadcast industry and his work. He was a critical thinker with enormous technical expertise, creativity, and vision. His understanding of storytelling and different styles of TV programming made him a valuable member of the production team. The television industry universally recognized him. He received multiple nominations and won over 17 Emmy Awards from the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. He spent the last years of his life in his final role as Senior Tech-Editor at FOX 5 TV.
Horatio met his second wife, Renee King, on a Caribbean cruise. The couple fell in love, married in 2003, and bought a home in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. Over the years, Horatio has explored his passions of golf, photography, and carpentry. In Montclair, he regularly played golf and enjoyed updating and doing remodeling projects on his home. Horatio and Renee became members of Christ Church in Montclair, New Jersey. With demanding executive-level positions in New York City and the girls now adults, they relocated and moved into an apartment in Manhattan. They also built a retirement home near his parents in a golf club community in Florida. The couple dissolved their marriage, and Horatio purchased a condominium overlooking the Hudson in the Bronx, NY.
Horatio loved the culinary arts and even took cooking classes. He enjoyed dinners with Victoria at selected gourmet restaurants in Manhattan. He loved traveling to New Jersey to spend time with Brieana, Brett, and his grandchildren - who would scream "Pop Pop Horatio" as he entered the door. Visiting his sister Arlene on Long Island for sweet potato pies and long talks with his sister, Radine, who lives in Belize were also special to him. As he grew closer to retirement, he developed an interest in sailing. In addition to his house in Florida, he would buy a sailboat for venture traveling. His dream was to explore the world by sea. He enrolled in Boating 101 and took lessons until September when he became ill. Horatio was also considering becoming a teacher to share his professional knowledge and volunteering in a community program to support those in need. His last family trip was in July, to spend a weekend with his parents in Florida and be with his mother on her birthday.
Horatio loved his family and treated his friends and colleagues with compassion. He was a good son, brother, husband, father, uncle, nephew, cousin, colleague, and friend. We will sorely miss Horatio as we heal and honor his memories.
He leaves to cherish the fond memories of his life two loving daughters and a son-in-law, Victoria Jennings of New York and Brieana (Brett) Puyear of New Jersey, a granddaughter, Sophia Puryear, three grandsons, Tysen, Ezra, and Stefon Puyear, his parents, Drs Mary (Vicki) and Sheldon Wacksman of Florida, two sisters, Radine Jennings Pitts of West Virginia, Arlene Jennings of New York, a nephew, Marcus Lazar Bannister of North Carolina, one aunt, Viola Newton of Georgia, one uncle, Rev. Maurice McCain of Florida, three step-brothers, Benjamin Wacksman of Florida, Cal Wacksman, of Puerto Rico, Daniel Wacksman of Hawaii, and a sea of relatives, colleagues, and friends.