June 16, 1942 - January 19, 2021
Virginia Wells Horton, 78, of Cleveland, Tennessee, passed away on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, in a Chattanooga hospital. Mrs. Horton was born on June 16, 1942, in Gulfport, Mississippi, to Reverend Odel and Mrs. Mabel Wells. She married Johnathan David Horton on July 11, 1964, in Plattsburgh, Mississippi. She and David enjoyed 42 rich, adventurous years together in a marriage full of love and laughter, until David went home to be with the Lord in May 2006. Mrs. Horton was a gifted vocalist yet wanted to be a mathematician. Upon the advice of her older brother Gerald, she abandoned her studies in math to pursue music education. She earned a Bachelor of Music Education at the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Master of Music Education from the George Peabody School for Teachers in Nashville, Tennessee. She was active in the opera department at USM, performing the roles of Georgette in Puccini’s Il Tabarro, Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflote, and Abigail in Robert Ward’s The Crucible. She has also performed as soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Magnificat, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Haydn’s The Creation, Verdi’s Requiem, Nelson’s What Is Man?, and DuBois’ Seven Last Words of Christ. Mrs. Horton continued her college career at Indiana University, studying voice with Robert Van Buskirk and vocal pedagogy with the renowned Ralph Appelman. She completed her Master’s Degree in Music Education at George Peabody College, studying voice and vocal pedagogy with Louis Nicholas, as well as working as a studio musician. Mrs. Horton came to Lee University (then Lee College) in 1969, as a part-time faculty member in the School of Music. She assumed full time faculty duties in 1976, specializing in Applied Voice and Vocal Pedagogy. She was the principal coordinator for the Applied Voice program for many years. She retired from Lee in December 2019, after more than 50 years of dedicated service. Mrs. Horton had an illustrious career as a soloist. However, her most-beloved performing venue was with her late husband, Dr. David Horton, who directed the University’s Campus Choir. Leading the Lee University Campus Choir for more than 25 years, the Hortons considered this to be an integral part of their ministry and work at Lee. Together with the choir they ministered in church services, workshops, and conventions around the world-Japan, Ireland, Wales, Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, Austria, Germany, Jamaica, Bermuda, Puerto Rico and Trinidad. During her more than 50 years at Lee, Mrs. Horton taught much more than vocal skills to her students. She nurtured, counselled, prayed for, laughed with, listened to, welcomed into her home, and genuinely loved each student as if they were her own. She impacted the lives of thousands of students who affectionately called her “Mama Horton.” Her influence on these young lives was immeasurable. The rippling effect of her influence is felt all around the world. Virginia Horton’s family and friends are comforted in knowing this beloved mother, sister, and precious friend is healed, forever in the presence of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Mrs. Horton was predeceased by her husband Dr. David Horton; her father Reverend Odel Wells; her mother Mrs. Mabel Wells; her father-in-law Reverend Wade H. Horton; her mother-in-law Mrs. Ruby Gaines Horton; and her brother-in-law Wade Horton, Jr. Mrs. Horton is survived by her son, Johnathan, the light of her eye, of Cleveland, Tennessee, who is a talented bassist and a graduate of the Lee University School of Music. She is also survived by her brother, Gerald Wells of Colorado, her sister-in-law and dearest friend, Betty Horton Simons, of Cleveland, Tennessee, and her brother-in-law John Horton of Ocala, Florida. She is survived by her nieces Gina Wells Tate, of Nashville, Tennessee, and Lori Simons Angerer of Tallahassee, Florida; her nephews Wade Horton, III, of Cleveland, Tennessee, and Jimmy Simons (Kelli) of Forsyth, Georgia; and many adoring great-nieces and great-nephews. The Remembrance of Life Memorial Service will be held Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 3:00 P. M. at the First Baptist Church with Dr. Paul Conn, Dr. Bill R. Green and Pastor Mitch Maloney officiating. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Johnathan Horton, 320 15th Street NW, Cleveland, Tennessee. “Elegant but humble, brilliant but gracious, and the face of Jesus to multiplied thousands of us. I am a more faithful follower of Jesus because of your kindness and care for me and so many others. How beautiful heaven must be!” Phil Hoover Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants. The Jim Rush Funeral and Cremation Services North Ocoee Chapel has charge of the arrangements. You may share your condolences and your memories with Virginia's family at www.jimrushfuneralhomes.com.
Virginia Wells Horton, 78, of Cleveland, Tennessee, passed away on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, in a Chattanooga hospital. Mrs. Horton was born on June 16, 1942, in Gulfport, Mississippi, to Reverend Odel and Mrs. Mabel Wells. She married Johnathan... View Obituary & Service Information
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