A year ago today, April 13,2010, a great man left this world to spend the rest of his life in eternity. But that is not a bad thing, because his eternal home is in Heaven. His name was Harry L. Horton and he was a very special man. I got to know Bro. Harry through Church. After a short time, he and his wife, Gladys, were Mom and Pop and they called me daughter. I lost my Daddy when I was 17 and my Mama in 1994 and it was very easy to love Mom and Pop and adopt them as my "parents". He was a born and bred Yankee, very outspoken, very strong in his beliefs and loved his Lord and his Church. He never pulled any punches and you always knew where you stood with him. I like that in a person. I don't like pretense and Pop was very straight-forward.
Bro. Harry was a very talented man. He knew music and gave me several song books, some written especially for the organ. He could fix anything and hated to see anyone throw away any small appliance. He was a mechanic. He loved to paint and painted pictures on anything he could put his hands on. I have two gourds, a handsaw and a metal plate that he painted for me. They are among my prized possessions. And in the later years, when he gave me the metal plate, if you could have seen how his hands shook, you would be amazed that he could paint at all.
I want to share with you several things that were read at his funeral. The first is a letter from his children entitled "Our Letter to DAD" - Thank you for being our dad, for we have been very blessed to be your son and daughter. Thank you for teaching us all the important things in life. Thank you for the love, guidance, and discipline that you gave us. Thank you for always being there for us, the strong arm of protection and the soft shoulder of love. Thank you for teaching us right from wrong and to take responsibility for our actions and decisions. Thank you for loving our mother and your wife for more than 69 years. For you taught us the importance of God and family. We will always cherish our memories of you, especially the trip around the barn yard and your meeting with the billy goat. We will always love you and we know that this only a temporary separation. For we will be spending all eternity with you. With all our love, your son Gary and your daughter Georgia Ann.
This is his obituary - Harry L. Horton, 90, died in Nags Head, Tuesday, April 13, 2010. Harry was the husband of Gladys S. Horton of Nags Head and the son of the late Joseph R. Horton and Bessie Ballman Horton. He was raised in Corning, New York. After completing high school, Harry entered the United States Army and served his country proudly in WW II. Along the way, he met and married his sweetheart Gladys, and the couple raised two children. Harry went on to build a long, successful career as an appliance repair technician working for the Corning Building Company in Corning, NY. Upon retirement, Harry and Gladys moved to the tranquility of the Outer Banks where they resided happily in the Wanchese community. Harry was a faithful member of Roanoke Island Baptist Church and cherished his time with his church family. Harry is survived by his beloved wife Gladys, one son Gary (Nancy) and one daughter Georgia Ann Davis (Ron), two granddaughters Shelly Burgess and Tricia Pentecost, one grandson Heath Mack, three great-grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, extended family members and friends.
Charles Tyler was Bro. Harry's pastor. He had only known Bro. Harry for a few years but cared a lot for him. I want to share part of his service with you. "We are here to remember the life, love and legacy of Harry Leroy Horton. His life, by earthly standards, was long-90 years. His life, during the time I knew him was lived for his Lord and in doing for others. I was the recipient of his kindess and generosity on more than one occasion. He gave my wife, Candi a skillet and piece of lumber he had painted with a bouquet of flowers; he gave me many jackets and sweaters and tools (oil filter wrenches). His love was expressed in so many ways. His love for Christ, his family, the Church, the membership, his pastor; what he did for others - visiting, offering rides to Church and to the doctor. His legacy was his service to the Lord, his giving, his soul-winning, his Bible distribution, the prison ministry-visiting those who were in prison and taking them the precious Bread of Life, the people he influenced for the gospel, by the gospel and with his life. We spent a lot of time together - both at his home and at Church. He will be greatly missed-but he was ready; and that is the greatest legacy he could leave with us. He knew where he stood with the Lord, not in his own righteousness, but in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The theme of this message is an idea that Bro. Harry gave me some time ago. I was asking him, before he became ill, if he had anything he was working on and would like to preach, and he gave me the germ of this message. If Bro. Harry were with us this evening, and could share with you his heart, I'm pretty sure he would tell us of his relationship with his Savior. He might speak about how, as a young man, he came to faith in Christ, how his blinded eyes were opened, and how he, though underserving, found grace, mercy, and peace at the foot of the cross." Then Pastor Tyler went on to bring a message called Spiritual Blindness taken from II Corinthians 4:3-4: "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them".
After the message, Pastor Tyler gave anyone that wanted to speak the opportunity to do so. It was great to hear the comments made about Bro. Harry. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to speak, but I was and shared a few of my special times. For about a year Bro. Harry was not able to drive at night. I was one of a few people that was priviliged to pick up him and Ms. Gladys and give them a ride to Church. He commented to me one night that they hated for someone to have to pick them up - they really disliked being a burden to anyone. I told him that they weren't a burden, we did it because we loved them.
A couple of days after he passed away, I posted something on Facebook about him and got responses from two young women that attended Church with Bro. Harry from the time they were little girls. I asked them if I could share their thoughts and they graciously agreed. Each of these comments were made in response to something I had written. I commented to Samantha Gard that I was sorry I didn't get to speak to her after the funeral because she had left so quickly. She replied: "I know Ms. Brenda. I wanted to stay but I was such a mess. I've been fine all day, but when I got there and the service started I fell apart, and of course I didn't think to bring tissues. Everytime I would look down at his picture (on the front of the program) I would start crying again. That church should have been filled to the brim, he deserved the funeral of a king. But even if it was, you couldn't have fit one more ounce of love in that room. Feels like the end of an era." This is Jillian Gibbs response to Samantha's post - "I wanted to be there so badly. Mom called me afterwards and I started to cry, telling her how much he meant to me and you. He was the one "elderly" person we could tell anything to and he would completely understand...like we were talking to someone our own age. He was always there to make me smile...always. He never let me down. He had so many people that loved him, and Heaven is so much richer now! I heard Mrs. Gladys begged him not to go...my heart aches for her. I can't imagine being with someone ALL those years and then one day everything changes. Can you believe he was 90? He could still rock those suspenders." The next day, Jillian posted one more comment - "Sam and I looked up to him so much...I remember when we were much younger and we sat in that third to the last row on the left side...everytime it was hand shaking time, we would always say to each other, 'Let's go see Mr. Harry!' and we'd run over, snap his suspenders and give him a big hug." What nice memories they have of a very special man.
In 2009 Bro. Harry and Mrs. Gladys moved to Britthaven Nursing Home in Nags Head. Their Chuch family carried Christmas to them that year. It was such fun to watch them; they were like little children. It's just one more special memory we have of them.
I know this has been a long post and I could share a lot of other things about him, but I'll close now. Just one more thing...I love you and miss you Pop. One day I'll see you and my Daddy again....I can't wait.