Douglas W Horton went home to be with his Savior, Friday morning, October 11, 2019. He was born in Rockwood in 1950, with his twin brother Doyle in tow. Growing up in the ‘crawdad hole’ made him tough; he was a fighter, a trait that would carry him through to the end. He was never afraid to face his fears or known to back down from a challenge. God, family, & country was his motto. He had a servant’s heart, always ready to help those in need, but never hesitated to put one in their place if they crossed a line. He was respected by most, loved by many, and feared by a few; whether you knew Doug, or Doug Horton, probably determined which category you fell in. He enlisted in the US Marine Corp in 1969. He was primarily a “mortar man”, evident in the years that followed by his incessant use of “Huh?”, and secondarily an MP, which landed him in the Philippines instead of Vietnam. Although he separated from active duty in 1971 and returned home to Rockwood, he was always a Marine, and a proud one! (He had some colorful stories that mom won’t let me share, but he liked to tell of his rabble rousing which often involved his buddy ‘Lawson’.) He became a super star in the wastewater business, serving on the State of Tennessee’s Certification Board, and becoming one of the Top 10 experts in the country. Never one to hold back on his thoughts or opinions (as some may know), his eventual partnership with his boss, mentor and friend, Mike Stump, paved the way for a successful career. After moving to the Nashville area in the 90s, his employer was marketing a lucrative contract. It was during this time he saw an opportunity to develop a dream of his, owning a NASCAR sanctioned race team. Having a great mind for business, he seized an opportunity to get sponsorship. While at a company Christmas party, Mike, who was the president of the company at the time, challenged dad to perform a ‘hillbilly dance’. Without hesitation, to the sound of Rocky Top, the jig was performed and PHG racing was born. PHG racing climbed the local circuit to compete at the historical Nashville Speedway. A premier race team during that time, the #42 ‘water car’, designed to reflect the sponsors business, was known on the circuit as one to watch. Dad was proud of his racing days. There are lots of great and fun memories, often involving late night ‘races’ down the backroads (at speeds we won’t discuss as we would’ve all landed in jail), team snow-in slumber parties that included sledding down the hill on race car windshields (it’s a wonder we didn’t break our necks), and many more shenanigans (including mom’s illustrious demonstration in the Taxi Division race at Highland Rim Speedway). It was a family built on hard work, grease, motors, tires and fun…..and ‘sway-bar’. After retiring in 2012 and moving back to the East Tennessee area in 2013, his new ‘career’ began. Armed with his ‘best good friend’ John (Deere), he set out to make his mark in Roane and Rhea counties. He was always building something, whether it was renovating his childhood homeplace, building the ‘barn-mahal’, or designing and building his retirement homestead, he was always in motion in that big purple land yacht with either John or his tools in tow. The only time you didn’t see him working on a project was when it was raining, or if he was on his annual brother’s trip with Bob and Alan; the B.A.D boys as they’ve been called. In 2015 his plans for his retirement home were derailed when that year’s winter ice storm, and the resulting power surges, caused the house to burn just weeks before its completion. Planning for the rebuild was complicated as the original contractor was committed to other projects. After much searching, and a near disaster averted, a man by the name of Neil Crass was recommended. The man who would be key in rebuilding dad’s retirement home, would soon become not only someone he called a friend, but also his Pastor and someone he greatly admired. I can’t recall how many times I heard him say how much he loved to hear Neil preach. Upon his diagnosis on September 5, 2019, dad gracefully accepted God’s will, but asked God to guide his final steps and to be used as a light in a darkened world…..and boy did he!! Ever faithful and ever trusting, dad used his final days to tell all who visited to keep God first, as He is all that truly matters in the end. Although he struggled with having to leave his friends and loved ones behind, and worried about leaving me and mom alone, he knew he would soon be with Jesus. I know today he’s rejoicing at his homecoming and reuniting with those who’ve gone before him …..and probably playing a game of squeaky-ball with, and getting a bit of the ‘what for’ from his baby ‘Lil Bit’ (Tyson); his beloved Jack Russell Terrier who he missed so terribly. We would like to thank all those who visited as they meant so much to him and brightened his days. To those special friends and family who went the extra mile, at no convenience to yourselves, to spend so much time with him on this final journey, we owe a special debt of gratitude. Your commitment to him was astounding. Mom and I are forever grateful for the love you showed him. To Katy Sullivan –Not only did you take great care of him, but you loved him through it all and brought him great comfort. You were his God-send, his angel, and girl, he loved you. To Karen Brown and Frank and Connie Hughart (aka KFC) – Words cannot express our gratitude. Not only were you rocks for mom and I, but the bond formed among you three and dad in his final days was nothing short of remarkable. He loved you all so much and always looked forward to your visits. To our Big Emory Church family – We have been overwhelmed by your love, support and care. The love of Christ and His teachings was seen and felt daily. We are so thankful and blessed to be a part of the BEC family. And last, but certainly not least, to Neil Crass – How can we put in a few words what you meant to dad and what you’ve meant to our family? From the day he met you, before knowing you were a pastor, he said there was something special about you. His respect for you was insurmountable. He would say, “there are those who want to preach, some are called to preach, and few are anointed; Neil is an anointed man. If ever I knew a man that walked this earth that embodied the characteristics of Christ, it’s Neil Crass.” You were there when he rebuilt his earthly home from the ashes, and you were there as he prepared for his heavenly home with Jesus. The peace and comfort you brought to him, his ‘pain reliever’ as you came to be called in his final days…..for you, we are forever thankful. He was preceded in death by his parents Marvin Horton Jr and Robbie Mae Adcox Horton. He is survived by: Wife: Jennie Horton of Spring City, TN Daughter: Amanda Horton of Rockwood, TN Son: Greg Horton (Rebecca) of Knoxville, TN Grandchildren: Lilly and Alex Horton of Knoxville, TN Brothers: Robert ‘Bobby’ Horton, aka ‘The Colonel’, (June) of Oakdale, TN, Alan Horton (Nancy) of Greenbrier, TN Twin Brother: Doyle Horton (Penny) of Spring City, TN Sisters: Aloma Patrick (Mike) of Spring City, TN Jean Monday of Crossville, TN Special Niece: Kimberly Grayson (Eddie) of Oakdale, TN Cherished Friends: Bill Bradley, aka ‘His one-in-a-million’, (Lori) of Pigeon Forge, TN Lawrence ‘Buck’ Hill, aka his ‘Toolbox’, (Shirley) of Rockwood, TN Tracy Wall, aka his ‘other daughter’, of Murfreesboro, TN Host of Nieces, Nephews, other Relatives and Friends.
The family will receive friends Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 1:30 pm to 3:30 on at Big Emory Baptist Church; 1607 Webster Road, Harriman, TN 37748. Funeral services will follow at Big Emory Baptist Church at 3:30 pm with Pastor Neil Crass officiating. Committal services and interment will follow in the Delozier Cemetery in Harriman, TN, with full Military Honors by the Roane County Military Memorial Honor Guard and the United States Marine Corps. Memorial contributions may be made to Big Emory Baptist Church; P.O. Box 227, Harriman, TN 37748. Evans Mortuary is serving the family of Mr. Douglas Wayne “Doug” Horton.