Virginia Wells Horton | The Cleveland Day by day Banner


Virginia Wells Horton, 78, of Cleveland, died in a Chattanooga hospital on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.

She was born on June 16, 1942 in Gulfport, Miss., To Rev. Odel and Mabel Wells. She married Johnathan David Horton on July 11, 1964 in Plattsburgh, Miss. She and David spent 42 rich, adventurous years together in a marriage of love and laughter until David went home to be with the Lord in May 2006.

She was a gifted singer, but wanted to be a mathematician. On the advice of her older brother Gerald, she gave up her mathematics studies in order to complete a musical education. She earned a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Master of Music Education from the George Peabody School for Teachers in Nashville.

She was active in USM’s opera department, playing the roles of Georgette in Puccini’s Il Tabarro, Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflote and Abigail in Robert Ward’s The Crucible. She has also appeared as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Magnificat, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Haydn’s The Creation, Verdi’s Requiem, and Nelson’s What Is Man? And DuBois’ Seven Last Words of Christ on.

She continued her college career at Indiana University, studying singing with Robert Van Buskirk and vocal pedagogy with the renowned Ralph Appelman. She completed her Masters in Music Education from George Peabody College, studied voice and singing education with Louis Nicholas and worked as a studio musician.

She joined Lee University (then Lee College) as a part-time faculty member in the School of Music in 1969. In 1976 she took a full-time position at the faculty and specialized in applied vocal and singing pedagogy. She was the primary coordinator for the Applied Voice program for many years. After more than 50 years of dedicated service, she retired from Lee in December 2019.

She had an illustrious career as a soloist. However, her favorite venue was her late husband, Dr. David Horton, who directed the university’s campus choir. The Hortons directed the Lee University campus choir for more than 25 years and viewed this as an integral part of their ministry and work at Lee. Together with the choir, they have served in church services, workshops and conventions around the world – Japan, Ireland, Wales, Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, Austria, Germany, Jamaica, Bermuda, Puerto Rico and Trinidad.

During her more than 50 years with Lee, she taught her students much more than just vocal skills. She cared for, counseled, prayed, laughed, listened, greeted them in her home, and genuinely loved each student as if they were her own. She influenced the lives of thousands of students whom she affectionately called “Mama Horton”. Their influence on these young lives was immeasurable. The ripple of their influence can be felt all over the world.

Your family and friends are comforted to know that this beloved mother, sister, and precious friend will be healed forever in the presence of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Her husband Dr. David Horton had preceded her death; her father, Rev. Odel Wells; her mother Mabel Wells; her father-in-law, Rev. Wade H. Horton; her mother-in-law Ruby Gaines Horton; and her brother-in-law Wade Horton Jr.

She is survived by her son Johnathan, the light of her eye, from Cleveland, who is a talented bass player and a graduate of the Lee University School of Music. her brother Gerald Wells of Colorado; her sister-in-law and dearest friend Betty Horton Simons from Cleveland; and her brother-in-law John Horton of Ocala, Florida; Nieces: Gina Wells Tate from Nashville and Lori Simons Angerer from Tallahassee, Florida; her nephews: Wade Horton III from Cleveland and Jimmy Simons (Kelli) from Forsyth, Ga .; and many honored great-nieces and great-nephews.

The memorial service to commemorate life will be held on Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 3 p.m. at the First Baptist Church under the direction of Dr. Paul Conn, Dr. Bill R. Green and Pastor Mitch Maloney held.

The family has asked Johnathan Horton, 320 15th St. NW, Cleveland, TN, to erect memorials in place of flowers.

“Elegant but humble, brilliant but gracious, and the face of Jesus multiplied thousands of us. I am a more loyal follower of Jesus because of your kindness and care for me and so many others. How beautiful must the sky be! “- Phil Hoover

Psalm 116: 15 – In the sight of the Lord the death of his faithful servants is precious.

Jim Rush funeral and cremation services at North Ocoee Street Chapel are in charge of organizing.