by Kim Schultz, SCPS Past President
Lee Horton, long-time SCPS board member, plumeria developer, and SCPS Lifetime Achievement Award winner, passed away in his sleep on July 18, 2020. He was a gentle, kind, generous man with one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever seen. Along with his departed partner Roland Dubuc, he was one of the Society’s most dedicated members; they were always among the first to arrive and last to leave a meeting or sale. Among the more beautiful Horton/Dubuc varieties developed are Jeanne Cecile, Midnight, Mary Helen’s Rainbow, Dawn Sullivan, and Kim Schultz.
Even though Lee served for many years as the head cashier at our SCPS sales, many of his contributions went unnoticed or unacknowledged. Lee was an acclaimed and accomplished international lovebird competition judge, and when our flower show began, he helped to develop high standards in the SCPS flower show and created the original judging classifications for that event, along with the SCPS ribbons and rosettes. If you’ve ever wondered why we need an extensive flow chart to help us determine what section and class in which to enter a bloom or inflo, credit Lee’s excruciating attention to detail. As a two-time flower show judge, only now do I appreciate the granularity of the sections and classes—it is difficult enough to try and judge all blooms of a size and color against each other; I can’t imagine what it would be like with less stringent specifications. Only someone with Lee’s experience and faith in what the flower show would become could have created such a sturdy foundation to grow upon.
Lee’s other major legacy for SCPS is the retail sales table. Lee was the first person to expand the retail sales table into more than some basic supplies sold at a discount for members. He maintained the member discount, and added jewelry, hair clips, housewares, a larger variety of fertilizers and supplies, soil, and of course, so many T-shirts. The retail table became such an active place we had to ask folks not to shop during the presentations so that Lee could get a chance to hear them.
Nothing was ever small enough to escape Lee’s attention to detail; from the retail sales table to their beautiful home, everything was meticulously placed and presented, even me. Once I was about to be pulled into an unexpected TV interview in the middle of a sale day, someone waved at me that my hair was a mess. Lee, retired acclaimed hairstylist, jumped into action and fluffed it out around my face and pronounced me camera-ready. [“That will be $200,” Roland deadpanned to me.] SCPS events were the only places I worried about making sure my hair was done properly because I knew I would see Lee, and I wanted to make sure I could show him the same care and respect he showed everyone else. He was a gentle, sweet man, a true gentleman in the best sense, and SCPS was lucky to have had him in our cohort for so long. A hui hou kākou, Lee.