William Horton

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  • "This memory of skiing with Bill has to be included here. It..."
  • "I am honored to have known Bill. He not only was a carrier..."
    - Casey Jones
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    - richard riger
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    - Don & Spanda Johnson
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William Giroux Horton

February 5, 1921 - April 25, 2018

William Giroux Horton, age 97, Commander, US Navy, retired, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, passed away peacefully surrounded by those he loved.

Bill was born at home in Oswegatchie, Waterford, CT in the middle of a snowstorm on February 5, 1921, spending his earliest childhood years there, learning to sail at a young age on the shores of the Niantic River. At age 10 his family moved to Lucas Point in Old Greenwich, CT. In the late 1800's, Edwin J. Lucas, Bill's grandfather, an enterprising young businessman, developed a community of large summer cottages still known today as Lucas Point. Bill continued his love of sailing, spending endless days sailing in the waters off Lucas Point and beyond. Bill's childhood home, which he visited several years ago, is still there and the community is now a historic district.

A three sport letterman, he graduated from Greenwich High School in 1938, enlisted in the Navy, and won a competitive appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis MD, graduating in 1943. While at the Naval Academy, as a Midshipman, he marched in the 1941 inaugural parade for President Roosevelt.

He was a combat veteran whose 30 year career spanned World War II, Korea and Viet Nam with tours of duty in the Pacific, Atlantic, and European theaters. A Naval Aviator, he served aboard aircraft carriers as a fighter pilot, his first airplane being the Corsair. He was one of the first Navy pilots to fly a jet aircraft, and was the first pilot to make 100 carrier landings on the USS Coral Sea. He later became an experimental flight test pilot. His love for the Navy and his country was contagious. In 1946 on a visit to Rome, Italy he was received in a private audience by Pope Pius XXI.

Moving his growing family every three years due to Navy fleet assignments and shore duty, in 1963, while attached to the NATO Nuclear Weapons School and stationed with his family in Oberammergau, Germany, his entire family learned to ski. If not for a change of duty station at the very last minute, his four sons would have learned to surf in Hawaii. The family skied extensively throughout the European alpine regions. On their return to the US and New Mexico in 1966, they continued their love of skiing in all of the western states.

Following his retirement from the Navy, he was employed as a development and logistic engineer for nuclear weapons by the Atomic Energy Commission (later known as the Department of Energy) in Albuquerque, NM retiring in 1984.

Throughout his life he was known as a man of enormous energy, confidence and enthusiasm. He had a lifelong love of the sea and sailing, was an experienced sailor and navigator who took great pride in his ship handling, navigation and sailing skills, serving 15 years as a captain of sailing yachts in the Caribbean Sea, which was followed by 15 years of windsurfing in the Caribbean Islands of Aruba and Bonaire, the Columbia River Gorge, OR and Padre Island, TX.

Bill was a 25 year member of the Sandia Peak Ski Patrol, in Albuquerque. He was the principal builder of the Ski Patrol Hut that bears his name at the top of Sandia Mountain. In addition to being a ski instructor, he was also a 20 year Red Cross hospital orthopedic volunteer, and a 38 year member of the Albuquerque Tennis Club. He also enjoyed snow shoe touring, furniture making, and spending endless hours gardening.

He continued skiing and playing tennis even after his 90th birthday. He was an active member of the US Naval Academy Alumni Association attending many of their reunions, and also a member of the Military Officers Association of America.

He was previously married to Elaine Dargue of Abilene, TX and Albuquerque, NM, the deceased mother of his four sons.

Preceded in death by his mother, Marjorie Lucas Crary of Greenwich and his father, Robert Ellsworth Horton of Burbank, CA; brother, Robert of Greenwich, CT; and sister, Marjorie of Sun City, CA.

Bill is survived by his loving wife of 25 years,

Bonnie, his constant companion, who he met playing tennis, and who shared actively, and participated in all of his many activities and adventures including sailing, windsurfing, and snow shoe touring. Bill also leaves behind his sister, Maureen; sons, Gary

(Ellen), Bruce (Evy), Scot (Ann), Craig (Karen); grandchildren, Steven, Lyndsy, Jennifer and Nicole; six nephews and four nieces; three stepchildren, David, Joanne (Ed), Paula (Pat) and step grandsons,

Daniel, Andrew and Peter.

Per his wishes, following cremation, Bill will be interred in the Santa Fe National Cemetery, Santa Fe, NM. Reception to be held in Albuquerque at a future date.

Published in Albuquerque Journal from May 4 to May 6, 2018
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