Martha Anne Horton, age 91, was called to her heavenly home on Sunday, December 27, 2020, due to complications from Alzheimer’s and other health issues. She was surrounded by her loving nursing family at her skilled nursing home in Saratoga, California. She was also surrounded by the love of her children and family from afar due to the pandemic restrictions.
Martha was born to the late Euliss Jasper Cook, Sr. and Bessie Gardner (King) Cook in Doniphan, Missouri on April 20, 1929. She was the youngest of seven children and grew up in West Plains, Missouri, where she graduated from West Plains High School. She loved nature, especially beautiful trees of every kind, the ocean and the mountains, and she had a real affection for bluebirds (all birds), stargazer lilies and flowers of all kinds. She often spoke of her fond memories as a child, sitting in cherry trees and apple trees enjoying the wonderful fruits. She was loved, nurtured and protected by all of her family, and she was very close to her mother, Bessie. Martha grew up in a very talented musical family. They all played musical instruments (piano, guitar, double bass, cello), and they all had beautiful singing voices. She would often recall walking three miles with her mother to piano lessons, but it was singing that was her natural, beautiful gift that really shone, having been blessed with a deep contralto voice. She and her two sisters sang together through the years for church services and family gatherings with their amazing three-part harmonies. She worked in West Plains as a bank teller, and then she went to Stillwater, Oklahoma to become a student at Oklahoma State University (OSU), where she lived with her sister and her sister’s husband, Mary and John Briscoe. John was an architectural student at OSU and, subsequently, introduced Martha to her soon-to-be husband, Theodore (Ted) Lyonell Horton, who was also an architectural student at OSU. They married June 4, 1950 at the First Methodist Church in West Plains, Missouri, and enjoyed thirty-eight years of a wonderful married life together until the death of her husband, Ted, on January 23, 1988. After they married, they lived in Fort Smith, Arkansas for seven years, and it was here their son, Gregory Lyonell Horton, was born. They then moved to Muskogee, Oklahoma where they resided for three years and where their daughter, Jane Anne Horton, was born. Ted was offered a good job with an architectural firm in Lawton, Oklahoma, so they moved to Lawton from Muskogee in 1960 where they raised their family and became active members of the First Baptist Church. Ted created his own successful architect/engineer business in Lawton and also played timpani in the Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra. Martha was a wonderful mother of her two children, and their home was often the place where everyone wanted to spend time. This was due to her warm hospitality, her fun sense of humor, and her inviting cooking. Martha taught five-year-old children in Sunday School classes and Vacation Bible School at the church for years, and she and Ted were both active in the church choir. She often sang the contralto solo parts in the church productions of Handel’s “Messiah”. She also sang in the Sweet Adeline’s Barbershop Chorus as well as professional chorale groups. She loved playing card games, especially bridge, and she enjoyed participating in bible studies. She was a wonderful line dance instructor for years. After the death of her beloved husband, Ted, Martha moved to Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, where she resided for over twenty years. She continued sharing her singing talent by joining the professional Village Chorale and singing patriotic songs at the July 4th shows in Hot Springs Village. She would sing solos in her local Barcelona Baptist Church, and continued to teach line dance lessons at the Hot Springs Village Community Center. Due to health reasons, she moved to live closer to her children, first in Lewisville, Texas, where her son, Greg, resided, and then to California in 2013 to live in assisted living and skilled nursing in Saratoga, California, close to her daughter, Jane.
Martha was a beautiful woman of incredible faith, and she touched so many lives with her love of God, her honesty, compassion, and her deep heartfelt prayers for anyone who was in need. She also loved having people over in her home for just a cup of coffee or for larger fun parties, such as playing dominoes or celebrating New Year’s. She was a wonderful hostess and always made people feel welcome. She was the most dear mom and grandmother, always giving her warm love and tender hugs with wonderful wise advice and counsel. Even as she struggled the last eight years of her life with Alzheimer’s, she continued to bless people’s lives singing her favorite hymns and “God Bless America” for the residents at her skilled nursing facility. Everyone who knew Martha loved her and will all miss her dearly.
Martha is survived by her two children, Greg L. Horton, and Jane A. Horton and Jane’s husband, Humberto Ramirez, her two granddaughters, Amber Otto and Lindsey Horton and their mother, Rhonda Horton, her grandson, Justin Herbst, her two step-grandchildren, Isabel Ramirez and Ariela Ramirez, her three great-grandchildren. Camryn Johnson, Kyndel Otto, and Kaylee Rae Pidcock, and her three step great-grandchildren, Joseph Otto, Andrew Otto and Madison Otto.
We will be having a viewing in accordance with the COVID restrictions on Monday, January 11, 2021, for Martha Anne Horton from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. at at the Becker-Rabon Funeral Home in Lawton, Oklahoma. Then, there will be a graveside funeral gathering at her final resting place where she will be buried next to her beloved husband, Theodore (Ted) L. Horton, in Sunset Memorial Gardens in Lawton at 2:00 p.m. that same afternoon, January 11, 2021.
We would like extend our deepest heartfelt gratitude to all of her beautiful care-givers and wonderful staff at The Villas of Saratoga and to the caring staff and nurses at Seasons Hospice for their devotion to taking great care of her and making her comfortable in her last days. And, also, a very special heartfelt “thank you” to her dear roommate, Patricia Littau, for being such a loving and connecting presence for our dear mom, especially in these many months of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are eternally grateful to you all for loving our sweet mom as you did.
In lieu of flowers, we would ask that you make contributions to The Alzheimer’s Association
https://act.alz.org or to Season’s Hospice & Palliative Care https://www.seasons.org/ .
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Martha Anne Horton, please visit our floral store.
Season’s Hospice & Palliative Care