Dec 01, 2016

Taps: CAPT John V. Horton, USN-Ret.

 26 October, 2016. CAPT John V. Horton, USN-Ret., 71, in Jacksonville, FL.
 
John had a distinguished 28-year Navy Intelligence career that took him from the Vietnam War through Desert Storm and beyond. He retired from the active list in 1996. In retirement, John lived full-time in Neptune Beach with his wife Kathleen (Kathy).
 
John was born on Aug. 13, 1945 in Lewes, DE, the second son of George V. Horton and Barbara Marshall Horton. His early childhood was spent on his parents' farm near Downingtown, PA and in one-room country schools there.
 
He graduated from North Central High School, Indianapolis, and from DePauw University, Greencastle, IN, with Bachelor and Master's degrees in geology in 1967 and '68. In 1976 he earned a Master's degree in computer systems management from the Naval Postgraduate School. On Sept. 7, 1968, he married Kathleen Ann Gross in her hometown, Springfield, IL. For one year, he worked as production control coordinator for an aircraft and missile component manufacturer in Indianapolis, but in February, 1969, he headed for Navy Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI. His life's work had begun.
 
His six deployments on Navy aircraft carriers and overseas assignments took him around the world to then current or soon-to-be hot spots and war zones. His stateside shore duty had him working for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during Desert Storm and Desert Shield (the first Gulf War), on task forces with the Central Intelligence Agency looking at Iraq and Somalia among other places, as director of technology security for the Navy Secretary and in key roles in various naval intelligence commands.
 
During his Naval career, Capt. Horton earned 33 commendations, medals, awards and ribbons including the prestigious Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Vietnam Service Medals and Kuwait awarded him the Kuwait Liberation Medal. He was also a proud shellback in the kingdom of King Neptune.
 
John worked on highly classified projects he wouldn't discuss even in recent years. But, he loved to tell how President George H.W. Bush, just weeks after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, hid out for 45 minutes in Horton's office on the carrier USS Forrestal (CV-59). The President was on board FID to prepare for the Malta “Saltwater Summit” with the Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev. “I looked up and there he was,” Capt. Horton said. “He told me he was hiding out.” They talked for perhaps 45 minutes before his staff discovered where he was.
 
After his retirement, Capt. Horton took on church and volunteer work with a passion-as house captain for Beaches Habitat, director of capital projects for Christ Episcopal Church in Ponte Vedra, chairman and president of the Beaches Christian Service Corps (Pablo Towers and Pablo Hamlet) and in more recent years at Christ United Methodist Church in Neptune Beach as chair of the staff-parish relations committee, lay leader, adult Sunday School teacher and as an officer of United Methodist Men.
 
In addition to his wife of 48 years, Capt. Horton leaves behind their daughter; son; two grandchildren and a brother.
 
A Memorial Service celebrating Capt. Horton's life will start at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 12th at Christ United Methodist Church, 400 Penman Rd., Neptune Beach.
 
Memorial gifts may be made to the Mayo Clinic Transplant Fund, 4500 San Pablo Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32224 or to United Methodist Men at Christ United Methodist Church. Please visit our online Tribute at www.quinn-shalz.com. Services under the direction and care of Quinn-Shalz Family Funeral Home.
 
This obituary in original format appeared in the Florida Times-Union on 06 November, 2016.