John L. Horbelt, age 85, of Zephyrhills, Florida, passed away on November 9th, 2020.
John was born on January 26th, 1935 to John L. and Marcella Horbelt in Newark, New Jersey. After graduating from Westside High School in 1953, he enlisted in the United States Army.
John served in the 187th Airborne during the Korean War, and also served with the National Guard until 1980 when he received an Honorable Discharge. Sergeant Horbelt earned the Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle Bar, the National Defense Service Medal and the Florida Meritious Service Ribbon. During his military career, he was also a Draftsman, Personnel Administrator and Chaplain Assistant.
Afterwards, John worked at UPS and attended the police academy in West Palm Beach, Florida. During his career in law enforcement, he was a Police Chief in Royal, FL, Caliente, Nevada and Jupiter, FL., and was a personal bodyguard for Elvis Presley for two years, among other celebrities.
He also received a Bachelor of Theology from The Citadel Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Theology from Wake Forest University, and pastored for several different Baptist churches during his career.
During his retirement, he worked for the Marion County and Wildwood Police Departments as a volunteer investigator, helping solve cold cases.
John was predeceased by his parents and daughter, Cindy Kelly, and step-sons Jeremy Sokol and Gregory Sokol. He is survived by his loving wife Carol Horbelt (Cicenas) of 30 years, son Jack Kelly, daughters Jennifer Horbelt Goode and Lisa Andrews, step-son Andrew Sokol, grandchildren Kyle Kelly, Michael Horbelt, Derek Sokol, Brian Sokol, Crystie Sokol and Austin Sokol, and great-grandchild Luna Horbelt.
There will be a viewing held on Monday, November 16th at 11:00 am at the Hodges Family Funeral Home, located at 11441 US Hwy. 301, Dade City, FL, following with the funeral service with military honors at 1:00 pm in the Florida National Veterans Cemetery, located at 6502 SW 102nd Ave, Bushnell, FL.