John Gregory Horton, a maintenance mechanic in Facilities Management, passed away on October 8 at age 67. He had worked at Gallaudet for over 47 years, and was the university’s longest-serving employee at the time of his death. 

John’s colleague Keith Thames wrote in an email message, “John was a person who loved his job. He would come to work almost an hour before his start time and would be the last person to leave to turn the lights off and lock up the shop.” 

Another colleague, Sharon Nichols, echoed this sentiment. She wrote that she arrived at work every morning before sunrise, and was always comforted to see John sitting in his truck, an hour to an hour and one-half before his shift began. “I always knew I could count on John being there as I parked and walked alone to the Central Utilities Building. It was a pleasure to work with him for over 33 years.”

Continued Keith Thames, “John worked in every building on the campus and at House One over his 47 years. For the last seven years or more, he was assigned to Benson, Carlin, and Clerc Halls, taking care of everything in those buildings, including heating, ventilation, and air conditioning; plumbing, and electrical work. He even changed all the window treatments. John would work very hard during the summer to make sure that when students came back in the fall, they would return to safe, clean, and welcoming dorms. John is and will be greatly missed,” 

Usherla DeBerry, ’99, a former Coordinator of Residence Education under Residence Life and Housing, wrote, “[John and I] tackled different plans to ensure that the dorm was ready and kept up to date. I loved his humor.”

John Gregory Horton was born on August 14, 1955 in Washington, D.C. to Delores Roane and Raymond Horton Jr. Soon after graduating from Frank W. Ballou Senior High School, he followed his father to Gallaudet. He began his career on February 17, 1975 as a custodian, and became a maintenance mechanic the following year. His knowledge of the university’s buildings and infrastructure was encyclopedic, and he served as a valued mentor to many of his colleagues. 

John Horton is shown with his father, Raymond Horton Jr., at a service award ceremony in 1988. Raymond was honored for 15 years of service to the university. Six members of the Horton family have worked at Gallaudet since the 1970s. (photo courtesy of Sharon Nichols in Facilities Management)

John’s father, Raymond Horton Jr., worked at Gallaudet from 1973 to 1991 as an electrician. Three of John’s siblings and a niece also worked at the university at different times in a variety of roles. 

A resident of Hyattsville, Maryland, John enjoyed spending time with his family. He loved music, played drums, and was a DJ in the 1980s.

John was predeceased by his parents and his stepmother, Bessie Kent Horton. He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Sabrina and Donald Fon, and their three children; eight siblings, Bishop Raymond Horton lll, Debra Smith, Rhonda Hicks, Anthony Woods, Belinda Yomsi, Gwendolyn Horton, Marcella Horton, Levi Horton, and Tonya Hines; and many nieces and nephews.

A celebration of John’s life will be held on Friday, November 11, beginning with a viewing at 10 a.m., followed by a funeral service from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Epiphany Episcopal Church, 3111 Ritchie Road, Forestville, Maryland. A repast will follow at Canterbury Hall, 3125 Ritchie Road, also in Forestville. John will be laid to rest at Fort Lincoln Cemetery, 8401 Bladensburg Road, Brentwood, Maryland. 

Gallaudet University thanks John for his many years of dedicated service, and sends its heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

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