Roger “Buzz” VanHorn

Roger “Buzz” VanHorn - Penfield, NY - Rochester Cremation

Roger “Buzz” VanHorn, died at home with his husband of fourteen years, Patrick Fisher, and his dog “Otto” at his side on March 19, 2021 in Penfield, New York after a valiant battle with lung cancer. He was age sixty-four and was born in Webster, NY, the son of Sharlene VanHorn (nee Wilcox, deceased). He is survived by his sister and brother-in-law Sally and George Malafeew, his niece Andrea Rock, a nephew and his wife Brett and Robin Malafeew, great-nieces Olivia, Alexa and Grace, and great-nephews Jack and Dylan. His step-father Glenn Goodnough (also deceased) provided humor and stability in his life.

Buzz spent summers of his youth at the Thousand Island family summer home in Clayton, NY. Throughout his life he was a global traveler, a champion equestrian rider and trainer, and more recently a compassionate health care provider. He was a lifelong comedian entertaining everyone within the sound of his voice. His friends and family attest how Buzz’s humor was always infectious but never malicious.

Buzz was gifted his first pony, Daisy Mae, when he was 10 years old and horses became a part of his pulse for years to come. After graduating from Webster High School, Buzz graduated from the Pacific Horse Center in Oak Grove, CA. He later owned and successfully operated the Rockrimmon Stables in Colorado. For a short time, he also served as trainer for the University of Rochester Equestrian Team. His love of horses and dogs (Otto, Fanny and Bryce to name a few) filled his heart with fur, frolic, and unconditional friendships.

Buzz was also a flight attendant and travelled the globe on commercial airlines for several years. He developed an innate sensitivity and respect for a variety of cultures. On September 11, 2001, he was scheduled to fly into New York City and his flight was grounded along with all other U.S. flights when the Twin Towers were attacked.

More recently, Buzz put himself through adult educational classes to learn human anatomy and phlebotomy. He was then hired by the University of Rochester Medical Center where he spent several years as a phlebotomist with UR Labs advancing to the position of Site Coordinator. Buzz also served as an assistant to Dr. Brad Berk at the center.

Buzz will forever be missed by colleagues and all those who knew him, especially Patrick, his sister Sally, dearest friends Donna, Lisa, Brana, Alen and Marilyn, and all his friends who must remain anonymous here but whose selfless support contributed to his continued sobriety.

His family would like to extend special thanks and recognition to health care aide “Anja” and the UR Medicine Home Care Hospice staff (Lindsay, Caroline, Joann and Al) who assisted Buzz through his final moments. The family also offers lifelong appreciation to Dr. Nayana Kamath of Interlakes Oncology whose expert and compassionate guidance and care gave Buzz a longer quality life, Dr. Sughosh Dhakal who managed radiation intricacies to relieve Buzz’s brain and spinal pain at Interlakes Radiation, Dr. Jaswant Jain who first recognized a suspicious lump and sought immediate follow up (and “Kim”, who made red-tape miracles happen), Dr. Louis Eichel for always being available when we needed him most, and Michelle Sterman PA-C for her sense of urgency and compassion regarding palliative care.

A celebration of Buzz’s life will be held at a date to be announced as pandemic conditions allow.

In lieu of gifts or flowers donations in his name are gratefully accepted by the Verona Street Animal Society, a nonprofit 501c3 organization raising funds to feed and support sheltered dogs in Rochester, New York. To donate online, go to: VSAS.ORG and note your donation in memory of Roger VanHorn. Patrick and Roger’s family thanks you.

28 Condolences

  1. Brad & Dolly on March 22, 2021 at 10:41 pm

    Well Pat at least now he is in a better place than this world is now and with no more pain. He is now healthy and with the pets he and you loved. Don’t worry he is with you always ,and still using his humor as always.

    Brad & Dolly

  2. Hong on March 22, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    Dear Pat, so sorry for your loss. My thought is with you and your family. Hong

    • Patrick A Fisher on March 24, 2021 at 2:49 pm

      Thanks Brad & Dolly. I will let you know as memorial plans evolve.

    • Patrick A Fisher on March 24, 2021 at 2:55 pm

      Your loving support is so appreciated Dr.Zhang. Than you.

  3. Laurie & Jason on March 22, 2021 at 11:44 pm

    So sorry for your loss Uncle Pat. Buzz was such a special person. Very loved & cared for by many. He will be missed. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time. Love & hugs to you, always.

    • Patrick A Fisher on March 24, 2021 at 2:54 pm

      Thank you for the beautiful iron plan, always a symbol of courage and strength. Love and hugs to you both and Ryan and Tyler.

      • Robert Meadows on April 1, 2021 at 4:43 pm

        We are truly sorry for your loss Patrick. He sounded like a special man as are you. Love from Bob and Dan at kavod

  4. John e Fisher on March 23, 2021 at 6:33 am

    So sorry for you loss uncle pat. He was a great man with a Fishers scince of humor.. He will be missed for sure..if there is anything I or we can do for you just say the word and we’ll be there at a drop of a hat.

    • Karin Costich on March 23, 2021 at 12:13 pm

      I am so very sorry for your loss. I had known Buzz from 1988 when we worked together. He was the BEST instructor and trainer. There are countless riders that owe their good riding abilities to Buzz. We had lost touch over the past years but he will always hold a very special place in my heart. Love you Buzz. Go find Bryce and a kickball! 🦄

    • Patrick A Fisher on March 24, 2021 at 2:58 pm

      Thanks John and Laura. Just hearing from you means the world.

    • Patrick A Fisher on March 24, 2021 at 2:59 pm

      Thanks John and Laura. Just hearing from you means the world to me.

  5. Sonia Jones on March 23, 2021 at 9:57 am

    Patrick I would like to extend my sincere condolences, “007” as I affectionately call him will truly be missed but will forever be in my heart.

  6. Melissa Dilcher on March 23, 2021 at 10:01 am

    Uncle Pat,

    As stated previously I am so sorry for your loss. I am here for you anytime and will make you laugh as usual. Just call or text. My condolences to the rest of the family. Buzz was a great man. He always made me laugh and was a great cook. He excelled at everything. A great role model. He will be missed. ❤️ 🙏 😇

    Love , Melissa Dilcher

  7. Laurie Evans Lamb on March 23, 2021 at 12:29 pm

    So very sorry to hear this. I was a junior rider with Buzz in Colorado in the nineties. We traveled all over the country together to horse shows and he loved my horse, Lambchop. Buzz taught be so many great lessons and especially one I will never forget was how to be humble. It truly formed who I am today and I still use the story as an example to my son. Buzz was absolutely one of a kind. My heart goes out to his friends and family. I have a beautiful photo of Buzz that I know was one of his favorites, if anyone would like a copy you are welcome to reach out.

    • Patrick A Fisher on March 24, 2021 at 1:04 pm

      LAMB CHOP (and you) was one of his most fond memories. He spoke about Lambchop often. I would truly love having that photo and promise to give it respect. Thank you so very much for connecting with me. Patrick Fisher, 102 Creek Hill Lane, Rochester NY 14625. Email: Phone: 585.787.4011

  8. Robert Van Horn Palmer on March 23, 2021 at 2:44 pm

    Oh dear, so very sorry Patrick, and Sally. Though we met only a few times I always liked Buzz. Obviously generous of spirit and supportive of others, he seemed to have a wry sense of humor and generally upbeat attitude. (And outside my mother’s family, he is the only Van Horn — my middle name — I’d ever met.) Wish we’d known each other better; his passing truly saddens me.

    Godspeed to him, and to you. I’m sure he will be missed greatly by many.

  9. Marisa Russo Rotolo on March 23, 2021 at 3:10 pm

    Buzz was an amazing person! He was filled with laughter and humor! He was my horse trainer when I rode equestrian as a little girl. I took my very first lesson on “Frenchbread” with abuzz. One time, he drove a bunch of us, little girls, to a horse show. The best part was that he drove all of us on a giant RV. We were trying to make beaded bracelets while he entered into a construction zone…let’s just say the beads went everywhere and so did the bright orange cones in the ride! Laughter just filled the RV. Buzz made my riding experience remarkable so much so that my parents would have to beg me to leave the barn at night to come home for dinner!

    • Patrick A Fisher on March 28, 2021 at 9:16 pm

      Marisa, I heard about the beads and those cones, what a fun ride it must have been. Thank you for sharing that with us. These messages mean so much to his family and friends. Please let others know about his passing and encourage them to share their memories here too. Thank you.

  10. Priscilla Myers on March 24, 2021 at 12:31 pm

    Patrick and family of Buzz, please know how sorry we all are to know that we’ve lost Buzz. He was my dear friend and trainer years ago in Colorado at Canterbury and Rockrimmon, and I enjoyed some of the best times of my life in his company.. HIs patience (most of the time), humor, and talent as a teacher allowed this clumsy excuse for a rider to find joyful success as an amateur. He appeared as the heroic “Biff Vanderhoof” in a comic serial novel I wrote to help keep the barn folk entertained between horseshows. Having lost touch with Buzz years ago, I’m now comforted to know that he lived his later years surrounded by people and critters who loved him. He will ever be remembered with a fond smile and a fervent hope that he sleeps in peace.

    • Patrick A Fisher on March 28, 2021 at 9:10 pm

      Priscilla, thank you so very much for reaching out to us via this website. We knew Buzz had a host of friends in Colorado but we have no idea how to reach them, especially all the dear folks connected to Rockrimmon. If you have any connections please share about his passing and our tragic loss. My heart is broken. Our love was once in a lifetime. Thanks again.

  11. Ashley Keeler on March 28, 2021 at 11:00 am

    I’m so devastated to hear this. I have searched for Buzz for many years to catch up and see how he was. Buzz was like my father for so long here in Colorado. We traveled together, I would stay at his house before horse shows so I could get up and braid early. He was more than our trainer. He was our mentor and our friend. I’m so sorry for your loss. So sorry for all of our loss. 😞 RIP my friend. I love you so much!

    • Patrick A Fisher on March 28, 2021 at 9:00 pm

      Buzz was so proud of you Ashley. He has also shared about those days in Colorado and braiding. So much work but a lot of self discipline. I am thankful for your message here and so glad you reached out. Would you know how to contact the woman who was his business partner for a time? I think her name was JoAnn? You may contact me directly at

  12. Darlene ( Cackovich) DePerto on March 28, 2021 at 11:02 am

    Uncle Patrick , I’m So sorry About Uncle Buzz.
    His Humor and Infectious Laughter at our visits, will be Truly Missed.
    I’m so greatful He was able to Experience Emmalynes HorseBack riding Lessons (Even if through video/text). I’m glad he was able to share his stories with Emmalyne , Along with Talking me through the scare of my life seeing her fall. How proud I know you both were to hear She got right Back on and continued with her Lesson, Just one of the Many Memories we have to Share. His Love and Kindness For You, and what you both Shared was very Endearing.
    I agree With John , that Uncle Buzz, Fit right in to our Family.
    I was very Blessed to have had Known Him, and to of had him in My Life, and Emmalynes life.
    It was a True Honor to call him My Uncle, and Emmalyne to call Him a Great Uncle ( As You are and He Truly was).
    Love Darlene, David, and Emmalyne

    • Patrick A Fisher on March 28, 2021 at 8:52 pm

      Thank you Darlene for sharing your memories with me and his family. Please let Emmalyne know I have a little something of Uncle Buzz’s just for her.

  13. Sharon Jensen (Cronauer) on March 28, 2021 at 11:55 am

    Dear Patrick, I am so sorry to learn this news about Buzz and my sympathies to you and to all knew and loved him. I also knew Buzz from my days riding and training with him in the 90’s at Canterbury in Colorado. I had just moved to Colorado and it was my first time actually learning the horse show ropes as an amateur. He took me under his wing, like so many of us. He made it fun( had some of the best laughs) and interesting and taught me a lot. He was one of kind and obviously dearly loved and will be missed by so many of us. RIP

    • Patrick A Fisher on March 28, 2021 at 8:41 pm

      I want to thank you for sharing your CO memories with me and his family. At this time when distancing is the new normal these Internet memos mean so very much. Yes, Buzz will be missed but he lives on in our hearts.

    • Ms. Mallory Sanderson on March 29, 2021 at 3:32 pm

      Dear Patrick and Otto,
      Truly heartbreaking💔 Buzz may be gone from our sight, but never from our hearts. What a great loss to the world. He will be missed by so many! Even as I’m shedding tears for your loss, I’m honored to remember one of the best people and funniest I ever met. Our house was the Vestal Mansion, it bordered High Prairie Farms in Colorado so we had the pleasure of seeing Buzz on a daily basis during show season. We just asked a trainer 3 weeks ago how Buzz was at the Thermal show.
      He was obsessed with our English bulldog Yoda, he always wanted to take her home with him. 💔

  14. Lynne Cottrell on March 30, 2021 at 3:03 pm

    I was heartbroken to read of Buzz’s passing in the Denver Post today. I had several very successful years riding with Buzz at the farm we owned together, Rockrimmon, in Parker CO. He was such a gifted rider and with his charm and humor, everyone enjoyed riding with him….even those that didn’t. I have wondered how he was and hoped he was enjoying his horses somewhere but it sounds like he had a successful and exciting new venture in care giving which would fit his kind and compassionate personality. He may be gone but will never be forgotten by the many lives he touched. Patrick, Joanne Waring was also his partner….let me know if you haven’t been able to reach her.

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