Jim Horton, 85

Jim Horton, 85

SIERRA VISTA — Jimmy J. Horton died September 8th at the Life Care Center where he was recovering from a leg broken in a fall precipitated by Lewy Body dementia/Parkinson’s,

Jim was born in San Angelo, Texas to Roy Horton and Rösa Nell Trumble. He enlisted in the Army shortly after his 18th birthday and married Dorothy Roberts, age 16, when he finished boot camp. They had two daughters. Mentors in the Army encouraged him to get his GED and before his retirement he was able to complete his BA.

During his Army Airborne career, Jim spent nearly six years as an instructor at Jump School. He was also an early participant in sport parachuting and had some very funny stories to tell. He had numerous overseas assignments including Norway, Iceland, Germany, two tours to Vietnam, and Korea mostly unaccompanied. While he spent 13 years enlisted he received a reserve commission between Vietnam tours and retired in 1974 as a captain.

After he retired he and his second wife, Karen Robinson, converted a VW combi into a camper. They spent 18 months traveling to the tip of South America and back. Here their love of bird watching was ignited. After living in Tennessee for couple of years they took a traveling job as managers of a traveling exhibit from the Museum of Science and Energy, traveling from coast to coast for nearly 4 years. This was followed by a 9 1/2 month trip to Australia-a birder’s paradise. They then lived in Baja Sur, Mexico for nearly six years. Settling in Sierra Vista in 1989 they made frequent “birding’ trips in the states and to Africa, Europe, Antarctica, the Arctic, Turkey, and Papua New Guinea Jim was president of the local Audubon and the state council and the founder of the San Pedro 100. They also were tour leaders and lecturers for Elderhostel for 11 years.

One of Jim’s grandsons described Jim as his hero-an adventurer, storyteller, a passionate defender of the environment who lived life fully and loved to share that with others. His niece said he was one of the coolest men she had ever known.

It was ironic that this wonderful, witty storyteller who was in demand as an MC or for roasting colleagues was almost totally unable to speak near the end of his life because of paralyzed vocal cords.

Jim was predeceased by his parents, his brothers Charles, Roy and Toby, his daughter Terre and his first wife, Dorothy. He is survived by his wife Karen, daughter Sherre (Greg), grandchildren Daron (Jennifer), Greg Jr. (Shannon), Morgan (Gary), 9 great grandchildren, 1 1/2 great, great grandchildren as well as nieces and nephews Tammy, Gene, Jim, Charla, Anthony and Tina.