Jack Horton, beloved patriarch and dear friend, died Oct. 20 in Orange. Jack was born in his family’s home in Troup, on July 25, 1924 to Gertrude Terry and Samuel Wesley Horton. He was part of the “Greatest Generation” who came of age during the Great Depression.
In 1942, he traded his high school diploma for an Army M-1 carbine. This handsome 17-year-old, who’d never before traveled farther than 100 miles from home, served valiantly in the European theater with the 254th Engineer Combat Battalion. By 1944, these brothers-in-arms were eagerly anticipating R&R back home, but instead were sent to Belgium and, subsequently, into the Battle of the Bulge. “On Point,” the Online Journal of Army History said, “By destroying key bridges, creating obstacles, and fighting as infantry, the engineers delayed the Wehrmacht enough for the Allies to organize a counteroffensive. The engineers’ actions were so effective that it led SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel) Joachim Peiper to mutter in frustration, ‘The damned engineers!’ after several key bridges were blown before he could cross them.” Modestly, Jack said he was famous for “digging the fastest foxhole.”
After leaving the service, Jack married Nellie Faye Shuttlesworth in 1947. They took great joy in rearing their two children, Charlotte Anne Jordan McClain, and Samuel Jack Horton, in Orange.
Jack was a trustworthy and loyal steward of Chevron-Phillips from 1955 until his retirement in the nineties. He worked long, hard, physically-demanding shifts to support his family, and commented many times on his appreciation of Chevron-Phillips and the work they afforded him.
Jack was an only child, and was preceded in death by his parents and the love of his life, Nell Horton.
He is survived by his daughter Charlotte, and her companion Ben Rice; son, Jack; grandchildren Caroline Jordan and wife Jennifer Wichmann, Samuel Thomas Horton and wife Kerry, and great-grandson, Charles Horton. He will be greatly missed by all who loved him.
The family extends special thanks for the loving care of neighbors Connie and Ronnie Spruell and devoted friend Ginger Veal which allowed Jack to stay in his home years after Nell’s death. We also thank Drusilla Anderson, Yvette Cotton, Jerrie Curtis, and Molly Stringer for their warm, professional attention in his final year. These health care professionals worked long hours around the clock to ascertain he was well cared for. Additionally, they loved him. We would be remiss in not thanking the staff of Southeast Texas Hospice and particularly R.N. Debbie Hayes Goforth.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, October 22, from 3:00 until 5:00 at Claybar Funeral Home, in Orange.
The funeral, also at Claybar, will be Thursday at 12:00, with the Rev. Lynn Ashcraft officiating. A luncheon reception will follow the services, at the Horton home. All are asked to attend. On Friday, the 24th, the family will travel to Troup, to Pinecrest cemetery for a graveside service. and burial at 12:00 p.m.
One of Jack’s favorite bible verses perfectly summarizes his life: 2nd Timothy, 4:7 – “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race.” His children believe there’s another verse equally fitting: Matthew 25:21, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
In lieu of flowers, the family request tax free donations be made to Christian Community Service Center, P.O. Box 27924, Houston, Texas 77227.