Hockey star Tim Horton’s widow dies

…she began a court battle against Joyce to get her shares of Tim Donut Ltd. back. She also sued the lawyer who represented her during the transaction, alleging he didn’t get enough money for her. During the trial Mrs. Horton told the court about her addiction to alcohol and pills – including painkillers – which had begun in the 1960s and lasted for 20 years.

The Toronto Star
December 26, 2000

Hockey star Tim Horton’s widow dies
Lois Kalchman

Delores (Lori) Horton, the widow of doughnut shop founder and hockey great Tim Horton, has died.

Surrounded by her family, Mrs. Horton died of a massive coronary shortly after Christmas dinner. She was 68.

“I think she’ll be happy with Dad now that she’ll be back with him,” said Horton’s youngest daughter Traci Simone, with whom she had been living on and off for almost a decade. “She’s wanted that for the past 26 years.”

In 1974, Tim Horton, the legendary Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman and Hockey Hall of Famer, died after rolling his Italian-made Pantera sports care while speeding near St. Catharines. He was 44.

A decade earlier, Tim had started the doughnut shop that still bears his name in partnership with Ron Joyce, a former Hamilton police officer. After her husband’s death, Mrs. Horton inherited his half of the business.

The frequent highs and long-lasting lows in Mrs. Horton’s life were most recently scrutinized after she sued Joyce to get back half of the doughnut shop company she sold to him in 1975 for $1 million and a Cadillac Eldorado.

The former Ice Capades skater’s marriage to Tim was sometimes idyllic, sometimes stormy. In his 24-year National Hockey League career, he played on four Stanley Cup-winning Toronto Maple Leafs teams. After a series of trades, he was playing for the Buffalo Sabres when he was killed in the crash while driving back to Buffalo after a game at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Suddenly a single parent raising four young daughters, Mrs. Horton suffered emotional trauma while trying to deal with his death.

Later, much of the hockey memorabilia she had treasured was stolen in a robbery and never recovered. Recently he husband’s Stanley Cup ring disappeared.

In the late 1980s, she began a court battle against Joyce to get her shares of Tim Donut Ltd. back. She also sued the lawyer who represented her during the transaction, alleging he didn’t get enough money for her.

During the trial Mrs. Horton told the court about her addiction to alcohol and pills – including painkillers – which had begun in the 1960s and lasted for 20 years.

She claimed that at the time she sold her shares to Joyce, she wasn’t mentally competent because of the drug abuse.

The judge didn’t believe her, and in 1993, Mrs. Horton lost her court fight. She lost a subsequent appeal as well.

In an interview last night, Joyce said he harbours no hard feelings. “I bear no animosity towards her,” said Joyce, whose son is married to one of Mrs. Horton’s daughters.

In 1995, Tim Hortons merged with hamburger chain Wendy’s International Inc. When Mrs. Horton sold her shares, the company had about 50 franchises. Today, there are more than 1,700 in Canada with sales of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Mrs. Horton was living on a pension of about $3,000 a month – including $500 U.S. from her husband’s NHL pension, $1,500 from an annuity and her own $500 pension.

“She was devastated after the legal loss,” said her son-in-law Cam Simone. “She was a great lady and you couldn’t meet a more honest person.”

Mrs. Horton eventually found some solace in helping others, he said. She travelled to a small village in Africa to help impoverished people there. But the trip was cut short when bladder cancer struck.

More recently she organized and led trips of 30 to 40 people to Israel.

“She had always lived a sheltered life but after she cam home from Africa, she was a changed woman,” the son-in-law added. “She seemed to realize there was poverty around. She went downtown to help with a soup kitchen.”

She also wrote a book, Memories of Tim Horton, and had just completed a documentary about her husband, which will be aired on CBC in February.

She leaves her daughters Trace Simone, Kim Meny, Kelly Horton-Walsh, Jeri Horton-Joyce, and three grandchildren, Corey Joyce, 9, Tim Simone, 17, and A.J. Simone, 11.

Mrs. Horton is resting at the Jerrett Funeral Home, 6191 Yonge St. with viewing today from 7-9 p.m. and tomorrow 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. The funeral will be held in the Jerrett Chapel on Thursday at 11 a.m.

With files from Andrew Chung


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