Kevin Cody

Councilwoman Horrell was known as Steel Magnolia

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Redondo Councilwoman Kay Horrell (center) and Mayor Barbara Doerr during a Redondo Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting. Undated photo, courtesy of the Horrell family

Former Redondo Beach councilwoman and long time Realtor Mary Kathleen “Kay” Horrell passed away Tuesday, February 11, at age 94. Horrell served two terms representing District 2, where she earned the nickname “Steel Magnolia” for her strong opinions and Southern accent. 

Her testimony before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee in Washington D.C. helped the city secure funding to raise the height of the Redondo Beach harbor breakwater from 14 feet to 22 feet to prevent future damage to the harbor from winter storms. 

She and husband Jim moved from their native North Carolina to Redondo Beach in 1963. The following year, Kay became a Real Estate Broker and opened Horrell Realtors in Redondo Beach, which her son Jay and granddaughter continue to operate. 

Horrell served as resident of the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce, president of the South Bay Chapter of the City of Hope, chair of the Redondo Beach Library Commission, president of the South Bay Association of Realtors and from 1978 to 1985,  chair of the planning commission. She was elected to the city council in 1985 and served two terms, until 1993.

Horrell and husband Jim spent endless hours hiking and fishing in the Sierra Nevadas. Together they raised 3 children Tanna, Michael, and Jay. 

A memorial service will be held at Lighthouse Memorials (formerly White and Day), 901 Torrance Blvd. Redondo Beach on Friday 28 at 2 p.m. A celebration of her life will follow.

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