Walter DeWitt “Buck” Horton, Jr. Elgin, SC; 2/15/1943 – 04/16/2022 12:14 AM, surrounded by his family, our eyes filled with tears, our hearts wrestling with what could no longer be denied, pop exhaled his last breath as we praised God whispering a sweet prayer of gratitude for the many blessings He poured into us through this sweet, wonderful man.
He was “pop” to me, but he was known by many other names. To my sisters he was “dad” or “daddy”. His sisters and brothers named him “Buck” because of how hard he was to hold as a baby, and so he was called by most who knew and loved him. To his nieces and nephews he was the infamous “Uncle Buck”. But the name sweetest to his ears was “paw”, which was what his 3 granddaughters called him.
Buck loved his family. He was a loving brother and brother-in-law, and he loved his many nieces and nephews like they were his own. He made sure we spent lots of time with each other, which bonded us so tightly that our cousins are more like our brothers and sisters. When his granddaughters were born he did the same for them. When paw had one of the girls he was sure to get the other two, and he coordinated play dates with their many cousins, often trekking them to the zoo. Now they, too, are more like brothers and sisters than cousins.
Of all the things daddy taught us, the greatest lesson was compassionate presence. Dad was not a Shakespearean with his words, a Hippocrates with an intuitive diagnosis, nor Christ-like with a healing touch, but he was always there when people were suffering, in need, or had reason to celebrate. You could count on Buck to be there, to be present, to be compassionate.
And so, on Good Friday, it was fitting that in his final hours paw received what he had given so often, an ICU room packed with compassionately present family and friends, there for him, there for each other, honoring the man who loved them so well. And though we have much for which to mourn we, instead, choose to celebrate with an abundance of gratitude for the many blessings we received through pop.
A private celebration of life will be held May 7th for family and friends. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you practice compassionate presence with someone in need, or donate to Epworth Children’s Home.