The following is a complete transcript of the eulogies delivered for Bible scholar Dr. Stanley Horton, who recently passed away at the age of 98. The first is from Horton's daughter, Faith Horton Stilts. The second is from his biographer, Lois Olena.
From Faith Horton Stilts
Where to begin the story of a man like Stanley Monroe Horton? It is hard because there is so much that could be shared. Not because he was a complicated man but because he had such a full life during his 98 years here on earth.
Dr. Horton was born the child and grandchild of Pentecostal preachers. His mom was his teacher before he went to public school, so in a very real way he was an early homeschooler before anyone ever heard of the word.
He grew up immersed in a life filled with faith, prayer, worship, and bible reading. He could tell you so many stories of people in his family who were healed by God, from broken arms to healing of paralysis to being saved from death's door. The miraculous happened often.
He was also a very real kid. There is the cave that he and his brothers dug in their backyard where they often played and kept his favorite books and a candle for a boy who loved to read. He also loved to roller skate and would often skate all the way to school. He tried to play baseball with the other kids but usually missed the ball. He said that when he finally got glasses in high school he was amazed that he could see the ball coming as he stood at bat. Before the glasses, he thought everyone listened for the sound of the ball coming to them and tried to hit it according to the sound.
His family was very poor and his mother would often serve soup for dinner. Stanley complained about it and his mother added something to make it thicker and called it "stew." That completely satisfied him. For his birthday he didn't want cake. His mom would always make him rhubarb pie. His dad's favorite pie was apple and as an adult Stanley's favorite evolved to be the same with a twist—apple pie with cheddar cheese melted on it.
His grandmother live nearby. She was the one with the photographic memory who had spoken in tongues back in the 1880s but didn't know what it was. One of his favorite memories was walking to her house every afternoon because she had a pint of ice cream daily and would share. She said she needed the daily ice cream to stave off the effects of sunstroke that she experienced years before. It was a good excuse for ice cream.
He finished high school earlier than most. He was 16, and his mom wanted him to stay closer to home so he enrolled at the local city college. At 18 he went away to Berkeley but instead of college being a rowdy time of experimenting with different things, Stanley continued to explore his faith and grow in grace as he studied chemistry, making A's.
He also worked to pay for his housing. A friend who was studying for the ministry taught him how to drive a car. He said his mom was very surprised when he came home from school and could do that.
After college he began a career at a state agricultural chemistry lab. He would often go to youth street meetings and even though he was a shy young man, would share his testimony when he felt led by the Holy Spirit. It was during this time that he had a definite call to the ministry, not to preach but to teach and prepare others for ministry.
He traveled across the country by train, taking the long route where he saw the south for the first time as the train slowly wove its way across the US and up the east coast to Boston. Why Boston? Well God led him there to further his biblical education but even more importantly to find the love of his life, Evelyn. He met her at church as he walked thru the Sunday school class she was teaching to get to his. On their first date, she often said that, after fixing her hair and wearing her nicest dress, his only comment was, "Nice shoes." I did mention he was rather shy, didn't I?
He was a great storyteller and his sons Stan and Ed remember he used to make up stories about Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and do all the voices. He would always weave a life truth into the end of the story. When Faith came along, those stories changed to The Three Bears and Cinderella as he rocked her to sleep each night.
The three children all remember their dad had a great sense of humor and enjoyed good clean jokes. His favorite joke that he told at family gatherings and with friends was about Little Icky. He told this with a full Yiddish accent that I can't imitate well so keep that in mind as I share it with you.
One day Little Icky's father, who owned a little shop, told him that he was old enough to come and learn the business. He told Little Icky to stand behind a screen and watch and learn while he dealt with the first customer. A lady came to the door and Little Icky's father rushed up to her and said, "Good morning good morning, lovely lady! And what can I do to help you on this beautiful morning?"
The lady replied: "Well, I was wanting to buy some silk..."
Little Icky's father interrupts her and says, "Oh you are the most fortunate lady in the world. We just got a big shipment of the best silk in the whole world, and this morning I got a telegram saying that all the silkworms in China died." The lady bought all the silk he had in stock and left a very happy woman.
When she was gone, Little Icky's father went to him and said, "Did you watch and learn what to do?"
Little Icky replied: "Oh yes, Father! I can do this!" So Little Icky's father went behind the screen and Little Icky came out to wait for the next customer. Another lady came in after a few minutes. Little Icky raced up to her and said, "Good Morning Good Morning lovely lady! What can I do for you on this beautiful day?"
The lady replied: "Well, I've been wanting to find this certain kind of tape ..."
Little Icky interrupted her and said,"You are the most fortunate lady in the world! We just got a huge shipment of just the kind of tape you are looking for and this morning we got a telegram saying that all the tapeworms had died."
Dr. Horton's daughter Faith has an early memory of her mom and brothers going to a meeting at the elementary school, and so she was alone with her dad. It was Friday night and that meant chapel at CBC. Rather than skip the meeting, he bagged up some chocolate chip cookies for her and took her. They sat happily in the balcony during the service. He worshiped and listened to the sermon and kept her happy. She was probably 3 at the time.
You can read about all of Dr. Horton's degrees and honors online. One that hasn't been mentioned, though, is that he was the spiritual adviser for the PTA when his daughter was in elementary school. He would prepare a short talk and share it at every monthly meeting. I wish we had recordings of those talks!
If any of his kids had a question about Chemistry or Math, he was always there to help.
He was good to talk about anything they had questions about. Faith remembers him listening to lots of stories about the travails of junior high. His first response was usually,
"I used to feel just like that!" He was a good listener. He treated his students the same way, always there even staying late after a class to explain something.
Dr. Horton's form of social conscience was all about saving the unborn and helping others. He walked to raise money for the Pregnancy Care Center here in Springfield as long as he was able. He came to give his support by sitting on the platform after that.
He also gave regularly to Victory Mission and one year helped serve the Thanksgiving meal with Faith, Brent, and Zachary.
Dr. Horton was very proud of his son Edward and his military service. Edward served in Desert Storm and in the Army Reserve for 20 years.
When it came down to the real Dr. Horton, he loved God, and cared about people.
From playing on the floor with his kids and grandkids to helping with math problems, counseling and loving a child who was acting out because her parents had deserted her to play Mexican Train. All these things are Stanley Monroe Horton.
There is a scripture that describes Dr. Horton well: Micah 6:8 : He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. " And that is what he did.
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