Howard R. Horton

Loving Father and Community Activist Howard R. Horton, age 87, of Erie, peacefully passed away in the comfort of his home surrounded by his family on Tuesday evening, August 2, 2011. He was born in Erie on May 25, 1924, to the late Napoleon and Agnes Horton. Howard was a past president and executive board member of Laborer's Local 603 and was a continuous member in good standing since 1952; he was a certified member of the "50 Plus" group. He was the former Community Development Coordinator of GECAC, serving in the late sixties and early seventies. He was very actively involved in the lives of his children and the community. He served as a scout master in Boy Scouts of America, and as a parent representative for boys Little League baseball, Little Gridders, and the PTA. He was a former Democratic Party Committeeman and Judge of Elections representing the fourth ward 3rd district. In his early years he was an avid fisherman and enjoyed bowling. He was past president of Soulsville Bowling League and a member of the Poisettes & Gents Bowling League. He graduated from technical school, receiving a certificate in masonry. His skills in masonry certified him to lay the cornerstones for St. Paul Baptist Church, St. James AME Church, and a local church in Farrell, Pa. He also assisted in laying the cornerstone for Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church and the Martin Luther King Center. Howard also took special technical courses at Gannon University and Penn State University, University Park. Howard was a former member of the Bay City Lodge #68 and a 32nd Degree Mason. During his tenure as President of the Erie NAACP he served as the organization's chairperson of the labor and industry committee. He was a World War II veteran of the U.S. Army. He was an active member of St. James AME Church where he was a class leader and member of the male chorus. He formerly served on the Board of Stewards and Trustees. In addition to working in the construction trade as a laborer, prior to retirement he was employed as a housing inspector in the Health Department of the City of Erie, and a dorm parent for over twenty (20) years with the Upward Bound Program of Gannon University. In January 2010, Howard was a recipient of the Edinboro University MLK, Jr. Award. He was an avid Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Indians fan. He loved music and often visited the local nursing homes to perform for the residents and staff. In 2008, he discovered a place in local community theater when he was cast as blues singer "Bad News Brown" in the original production, "Except the Lord Build the House". His love for singing to uplift the spirit of those in need of encouragement was an undeniable passion. Besides his parents, Howard was preceded in death by his wife to whom he had been married for 57 years, Mildred Smith Horton; two brothers, Napoleon Horton and John Horton; and his sister, Ethelyn Price. He is survived by his children, Janet Sims, Marsha Moore (Steve), Ryan, Dallas, Texas; Cheryl Jong, Denise, Howard/Raheim (Lisa), Gary, Valerie Brown, Andre (Angela), Erie, Phyllis Glover, Glenn, Los Angeles, Calif.; Darrell (Antoinette) Mebane, N.C., Jacario, Omaha, Neb.; 30 grandchildren; 42 great-grandchildren; and nine great-great-grandchildren. Howard also leaves his companion, Laurastel Barney and family; several nieces, nephews, cousins; a brother-in-law, Elder Billy Smith (Jenny); sisters-in-law, Omega Vaughn, Detroit, Mich., Eloise Henry, Erie, Pa.; and more family and friends to cherish his wonderful imprint and memory. Friends may visit with the family on Friday, 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m., at St. James AME Church, 236 E. 11th St., and may attend a service at the church on Saturday, 11 a.m., conducted by Rev. Michael L. Simmons, Pastor. Interment in Erie County Memorial Gardens. Funeralization by Law Funeral Home, 2926 Pine Ave. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Erie County Diabetes Assn., 1128 State Street, Erie, PA 16501 or to Walking in Black History, 2046 E. 19th Street, Erie, PA 16506.

Funeral Home

Pitts Funeral Home of Erie - Erie
2926 Pine Ave  Erie, PA 16504
(814) 454-3112

Published in the Erie Times-News on Aug. 4, 2011