"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"  

Luke 15:4-6

September 12, 2007


If you read our newsletter last week, you probably noticed the note that my husband wrote at the beginning telling of my dad suddenly and unexpectedly passing away last Tuesday, September 4th. I want to thank you for your prayers for my family and myself. This has been, and is a difficult time for us all, and we ask that you continue to hold us up in prayer during this time of grief.

This week I would like to honor and pay tribute to Daddy. He was a godly man who loved God and loved his family. He was a quiet, strong man who led by example. I believe there is much that we all can learn from how he lived his life.

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” My dad didn't just send his family to church, he took his family to church. When I was growing up, we were there every time the doors were open. We were there every Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, every revival service, and any other activity. Not only did we go to our home church, but we also attended any revival or singing any other area church had.

Not only did we faithfully attend church, but every single night before we went to bed my parents and we five girls would all gather in the living room and kneel down and pray together. If one of us girls went to bed early, then Mama or Daddy got us back up when it came time for family prayer.

My parents' training paid off, because all five of their daughters have always been in church and three of their sons-in-law are ministers. The legacy has been passed down and there are now five grandsons who are also in the ministry.

My dad was always a hard worker and made sure his family was provided for. We may not have had much money or much in the way of material things, but we always had food on the table and our needs were met. I remember times when my parents didn't have money to buy gifts until a day or two before Christmas, but we girls always had something under the tree. We always had a real Christmas tree that my dad cut by himself. When I was young, my mom's family would all get together on Christmas Eve for supper. After we got back home, we would read the Christmas story then open our gifts. Then on Christmas Day, my dad's family would all get together for dinner.

We didn't have air conditioning, and I remember on a few occasions my dad pulling his old flatbed truck down under the big oak trees in our front yard at night, and he and Mama would take the mattress off their bed and put it on back of the truck and sleep outside.

What we lacked in material wealth, my parents more than made up for in their love and care for one another and us girls. We never questioned their love and devotion to one another or to us. We were a happy, close-knit family.

Daddy was a quiet man, and if he was in a talkative mood, he would talk; and if not, then he wouldn't. He was a happy man who liked to laugh. He liked to tease people and joke around with them. When he got tickled about something, he had this big laugh and his whole face would light up. I've seen his blue eyes twinkle many a time.

He could also be a little stubborn at times. One thing I can say. is that he wasn't wishy-washy in his opinions or thinking. He would stick to his beliefs and way of thinking, regardless of popular opinion. If he believed that something was right or wrong, he would steadfastly stick to his belief and wouldn't be swayed.

My dad was an honest man. He would go above and beyond when he did something, because he never wanted anyone to ever think that he was dishonest or trying to take advantage. If he did work for someone, they would get their money's worth plus some. For many years he hauled sandstone or creek rock for contractors. They were used for fireplaces and the outsides of the homes. I went with him many times to haul rock. A full load was four layers high on his old flatbed truck. But he didn't want anyone to think he was ripping them off, so would pile on extra rock on the center of the truck and round it up.

Daddy was not an affectionate man, but we knew that he loved us. He would brag on his daughters to other people, but had a hard time telling us that he was proud of us. He told my stepmother one time that he didn't think he would be able to handle it if anything ever happened to one of his girls. Of course, he didn't tell me that he said or thought that; June told me. He would hug us back when we hugged him, but seemed to have an easier time showing affection to his grandkids.

Everyone joked about talking to my dad on the phone, because when he was finished talking he just hung up. He never, ever said goodbye. He might say, “I'll let you go”, or something like that, but then he just hung up. When I called him, I knew not to say anything about hanging up or talking to him later until I was completely finished talking, because he would take that as his cue and hang up.

We could always tell when he was getting emotional, because he would start clearing his throat. Jon proposed to me in front of my dad and a few other of my family members. I was so excited I didn't notice his reaction, but June called me later and said that Daddy got tears in his eyes and he started clearing his throat. It really meant a lot to him that he was there for that big moment in my life. When I got married, I had secretly decided that when Daddy walked me down the aisle and gave me away, I was going to kiss him on the cheek. He had no idea I was going to do that and his eyes teared up and he cleared his throat when I did. I am so very thankful that Daddy was here to see me get married and got to know his wonderful son-in-law, Jon.

I picture my dad as this physically strong man with big, bulging muscles in his arms. The past couple of years he had started to age and was slowing down. But up until just the last month or so, he was still cutting and baling hay. We had been worried about him being out on the tractor in the heat. Last month, he finally made a deal with a neighboring farmer to cut, bale, and haul his hay. The farmer would get the hay and was going to pay my dad so much per bale. The last visit I had with my dad, he told me that he was going to have a sale and get rid of all his equipment except for his small tractor, which he wanted to keep.

For the last several years, about the only thing you ever saw my dad wear was overalls. He did borrow a suit to wear to my wedding because he didn't own one. He wore his old faded overalls for working around the farm, and kept his newer ones for church. He always wore a cap when he was working or when he went to town. He had this certain angle that he always wore his cap. It was kind of cocked over to one side.

This past Fathers Day, my sisters and I and some other family members went to his and June's house to do yard work. We spent the day mowing, weed eating, trimming trees and bushes, pulling weeds, and various other things that needed done. Even though it was our Fathers Day gift to him, he was outside with us working right along beside us all day. I think he mainly just wanted to be with us, and it meant a lot that we had took time to go do that for him. I remember pulling weeds out of a rock garden, and Daddy working right there with me trimming around a tree. It was just the two of us there in that particular spot working and we had an opportunity to work and talk together.

I have so many precious memories of time Daddy and I spent together. I remember so many things that happened growing up, trips we made together to go visit my sisters, etc. I will always cherish those things in my heart.

My dad also raised chickens for Tyson's. He was scheduled to sell the chickens Monday night, September 3rd. He told June that he was just going to stay up until they came and picked them up. There are certain things you have to do to get ready for the trucks to come and pick them up. He had been down at the chicken house and had rolled the curtains up and all the other things that needed to be done. When he got back up to the house, he told June that his back was really hurting and he felt clammy, so he was going to lie down for a while until the trucks got there.

Finally, he decided that maybe he should go to the hospital. For my dad to willingly go to the hospital, he had to have been feeling pretty bad. June called one of her daughters and son-in-law, Ginger and Roger, who lives close by to come and drive him. When they got there, he had got up and was dressed. The daughter was walking him out to the car, and her husband was waiting on June so he could help her. June has Parkinson's disease and is very slow moving. Ginger asked my dad if he wanted to ride in the front and he didn't say anything. She opened the car door for him and had turned around to walk around to the drivers seat. She heard him make a noise and when she turned around he had fallen to the ground. Thankfully, he didn't hit his head or hurt himself in the fall. She ran inside to call an ambulance and sent her husband out. By the time Roger got to my dad, he couldn't find a pulse. He did CPR on Daddy for 20 minutes, until the ambulance got there. Roger is a big man and was scared that he would hurt Daddy. This is kind of funny, but he told his wife that he had a hard time putting his mouth on Daddy's because he knew my dad would absolutely hate it. My dad was a very modest, very private man. Daddy was the type of man that never wore shorts, always had his shirt buttoned up, and if I showed up unexpectedly at his house and he was sitting watching TV with just his overalls on, he would jump up and run into the bedroom to put a shirt on.

When the ambulance finally arrived, my dad was already gone. I had received the first call at 4:15 A.M. on Tuesday morning that they were taking him to the hospital. Shortly thereafter, I received another call that Roger was doing CPR and couldn't find a pulse. The official time of death was noted as 5:00 A.M.. Daddy was 78 years old.

My sisters and I all feel so blessed to have had Doyal Horton as our Daddy. We are thankful that he wasn't sick and that he didn't suffer. He never wanted anyone to have to take care of him, and how he passed away is how he would have wanted to go. We know that we have so much to be grateful for. We know that Daddy is in Heaven and is reunited with Mama. All of these things we know, but we selfishly weren't ready to let him go.

Daddy cared for my mom during those years when she was so sick with cancer. During her last few weeks, she was bedfast and every time she wanted something she would holler for Daddy. My dad was faithful in his love and care for Mama. Never once did he complain about caring for her. With hospital bills, bills for the radiation, cost of the colostomy supplies, etc. plus all the cost of household expenses, I'm sure there had to have been times when he felt overwhelmed but he never showed it. He was committed to Mama and loved her with his whole heart. He was beside her bed as much as possible, doing everything possible to make her comfortable.

A few years ago, June was diagnosed with Parkinson's. She can still walk, but is very slow going. Her arms are weak and she has problems doing little things like dressing herself or making a bed. My dad has taken care of her for the past couple of years or so. He helped her dress, pulled the blankets down on the bed for her, and covered her up after she got into bed. He lifted pots and pans for her when she cooked, and kneaded bread dough for her when she wanted to make homemade rolls. Every Friday, he would drop her off at the beauty shop to get her hair fixed while he went and did their grocery shopping. He never once complained about having to take care of June or having to do all the shopping. That's just the kind of man he was. In both marriages, he was dedicated to keeping his wedding vows to love and cherish his wife “in sickness and in health.”

I grieve and mourn the loss of Daddy because of the things that I'm going to miss about him. I know that he's in Heaven and that he lived a good life. But there are so many things that I'm going to miss about him no longer being here with me. I'm going to miss talking to him on the phone. I'm going to miss going to his house and visiting with him. I'm going to miss sitting and reminiscing with him about the “old days”. I'm going to miss hearing him clear his throat or hearing his laugh. I'm going to miss our family not being able to get together at “Daddy's house” for holidays. I'm going to miss having him to call when Jon and I have gardening questions. I'm going to miss calling him first thing on New Years Day to tell him “Happy Birthday” or calling him first thing on Fathers Day morning. There are so many, many things that I'm going to miss.

At the visitation on Wednesday evening, there were so many people to come and pay their respects to my dad that more pages had to be added to the guest book. Then on Thursday afternoon at the memorial service, the church was packed. To see how well respected and loved my dad was, meant so much to my family. Throughout the years when my dad mentioned dying, he always said he didn't figure very many people would come to his funeral. If he could have seen how many people were at both the visitation and memorial service, and how many flowers were sent, he would have been so surprised! I don't think he had any idea how many people respected and cared for him, nor how many people's lives he had touched.

One of my nephews had made a casket out of cherry wood to sell, but when my dad passed away, he wanted his grandpa to be buried in it. It was beautiful and would have meant so much to my dad. To see my nephews and nieces mourn the loss of their grandpa, showed me how much love they had for him. They loved going to grandpa's house! When we all got together for July 4th, Thanksgiving, or Christmas they didn't like going anywhere other than Grandpa's.

I wasn't ready to say goodbye to my dad and this has been very difficult. I'm not sure if I would have ever been ready. Jon and I had dreams of building a house in Lampe on our old home place at some point, and it was our hope to be able to live close by my dad for at least a few years in order to spend more time with him and be there to help out.

Lastly, seeing how respected and loved my dad was, made me realize that I want to live in such a way that when the time comes that I reach the end of my life, no one can find anything bad to say about me. I want to be well respected by everyone who knows me. Daddy was a quiet man who was not comfortable having attention brought to himself. He wanted to be in the background. But he had a faithfulness and honesty about him that everyone noticed. He was never a Sunday School teacher or deacon, but was faithfully there every time the church doors were open. Sometimes it's not in how much you do or if you are a leader, but it's in being dependable and steadfast.

I was so abundantly blessed to have the parents that I did. There is not anyone in this world that I would have rather had as my dad and mom. My prayer is that when my time comes to leave this earth, I will leave behind a legacy just as my parents did. Each of us should desire to live our lives so when our time ends we will hear God welcome us into Heaven saying, “Welcome home, my good and faithful servant.” I know those are the words both Daddy and Mama heard!


Jesus talked about the members of the church as being parts of 'the body'. Usually, it's hard to look at someone and pick what part of the body they are. But I think Doyal was definitely the hands. The hands do all the work. Hands never complain. Hands clap for others, but never ask for congratulations for themselves. There are many parts of the body that work together to speak: lungs, throat, tongue, nose, teeth, lips; but not the hands. Hands don't speak, but they do plant seeds.


My dad really enjoyed Mexican food, and this recipe was one of his favorites.


1 dozen corn tortillas

1 can enchilada sauce

1 lb. hamburger

10 oz. cheddar cheese – grated

1 can beef gravy

8 oz. Velveeta cheese


Brown meat and onion; drain the fat. Mix the beef gravy and enchilada sauce together. Add half to the meat mixture and set other half aside. Cut Velveeta into 24 sections. Spoon a couple tablespoons of meat and sauce mixture onto a tortilla, add Velveeta cheese. Roll up the tortilla and place in pan. When finished, pour the remaining sauce on top of the tortillas. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Cover and bake for 20 minutes (or until hot and bubbly) at 350.


During my last visit with my dad, which was the Thursday evening and Friday before he passed away, I began asking him questions about a few things that I wasn't sure about. One of those things was about the property in Lampe, Missouri where my parents had lived for years. In fact, my dad still owned the home place and has rented out the house there for the past several years. That was the only place I had ever lived while growing up. I found out that Daddy had bought the land from my mom's brother, Kenneth. He bought it in 1955 and paid $800 for 40 acres. My uncle sold it to my parents for what he owed on it. To sweeten the deal, he gave my dad three calves. There wasn't a house on the land, so my uncle Bill gave Daddy some used lumber to build one. The original house he built was two rooms and the dimensions was 12x24. Daddy had never built a house before. Later he bought some lumber from a sawmill and he and my uncle Kenneth built on a couple more rooms. The foundation for those original rooms were not cement but was just made out of big rocks. From that time until I was age six, the house consisted of four rooms: two bedrooms, one for my parents and the other for me and my four sisters, a kitchen and a living room. It was a tiny house, but my sisters and I never even thought about how small it was. We always had relatives at our house visiting and us girls had cousins and friends spending the night with us. Looking back now, my sisters and I have wondered how everything fit into our house. Our living room was really small, but we had a wood stove plus furniture in there. Plus for many years, we always had an old upright piano in there too. I suppose when people came over to visit, which was usually two or three nights a week, we just all crowded in and didn't think anything about it. My oldest sister got married in 1971, and that summer my uncle Bill helped my dad build on another bedroom, a utility room and FINALLY an indoor bathroom. Up until that time we had an outhouse and didn't have running water inside. We had a cistern right behind the house and a water truck would come down and fill it up every week or two. We would draw water out of it with a bucket. We heated water to wash dishes and for our weekly baths. We thought we had a really big house when those final rooms were built on. And to have indoor plumbing and running water inside the house was so exciting!

I also asked my dad how he had met my mom. Her family attended Highview Church in Lampe, and he attended a revival they had. I asked if the only reason he went was to look for girls, and he said, “Probably!” He took my mom home after church that night. He couldn't remember how long they dated before they got married. I also asked what he was working at when they first got married and he said that he had a strawberry patch of an acre or two and he worked that and sold strawberries from it.


My sister, Janie, and I went to visit Daddy and June the Thursday night and Friday right before he passed away. On Friday morning, June's leg was hurting and her doctor had told her to take Tylenol. She had never taken it before, so didn't have any in the house. I volunteered to run to “town” to get some for her. Finally, after much discussion, my dad gave me some money and Janie and I ran to Berryville to pick up a bottle of Tylenol for her. We had just walked back into the house when June said that she sure wished she had of had us pick up some taco's for her and Daddy for lunch. Janie asked why she hadn't called to ask us, and June said she hadn't wanted to bother us. We asked if they wanted us to run back to Berryville to pick up some for their lunch and they said no. I volunteered to fix lunch for them and went into the kitchen to see what they had. Everything I mentioned didn't sound any good to June. Janie said that we just go back to Taco Bell and pick up some taco's for them. June asked if we could be back by 11:00, which is the time they eat lunch. We assured her we would, so she said she wanted soft taco's. We asked Daddy if he wanted crunchy or soft and he said he didn't care. We told him since we were going to go get some for them, he may as well tell us which ones he'd rather have.

We pulled back up at the house at two minutes till eleven. I walked in the back door right ahead of Janie, and almost cracked up! Daddy and June were sitting at the table, with their plates in front of them, and their glasses of water, ready and waiting for us to get back with their taco's. We were getting ready to leave because I had a hair appointment and then we were heading back to our homes, and Daddy and June were so absorbed with their taco's that they barely even told us goodbye. We have laughed about that so many times since then. I don't think I will ever eat taco's again without thinking about Daddy and June and this last memory we have of buying him tacos!


We only have one chance at life – make it count!

We so much appreciate all the prayers and caring thoughts during the past week. The e-mails with words of condolence, cards, and flowers have meant so much to myself and also to my family. Thank you for your kindness. Please continue holding our family up in your prayers. We love you all.

Loretta & Jon