Gale Horton

Staff Writer
The Shawnee News-Star

Gale E. Horton, 84, of Shawnee, Oklahoma passed away on April 29, 2020, at home. Gale was born in Shawnee on Sept. 9, 1935 to Elmer and Jesse Faye (Ward) Horton. He attended Franklin Elementary School, Central Jr. High, and Shawnee High School. With enough credits, majors and minors to graduate at mid-term, his senior year (1953), he enlisted in the U. S. Air Force during the Korean War. He attained duties of Flight Engineer and Swing Shift Flight Chief before receiving his Honorable discharge.

He married Minnie Lou Ribbeck on April 23, 1960. Of this union four beautiful and wonderful children were born, Michael, Tracie, Kristie, and Rodger. On Nov. 3, 2017, after 57 years, 6 months, and 10 days of marriage, his lovable wife and friend Minnie Lou passed away.

While a civilian employee at Tinker Air Force Base, Gale was a member of “Rapid Area Maintenance Team” (RAM). He had six temporary duty assignments (TDY) to South East Asia, Guam, Thailand, Okinawa, three times to Vietnam. Also, two times each to military posts in Michigan, Illinois, Texas, and once to North American Rockwell in California. While at TAFB, he was promoted to supervisor, and later selected to be the first Chief of the newly formed “B-52 MISTR UNIT” (Management Items Subject to Repair). During his Tinker career, he received many awards, five Sustained Superior Awards, two Outstanding Awards, eight awards for Suggestions, five Zero Defect Awards, and fourteen Letters of Appreciation from several Air Bases and Organizations for projects he worked on.

Retiring with thirty-three total years of service with the Air Force, he continued to spend many years as a part time Aircraft Sheet Metal Instructor at the Tinker Vo-Tech Training Center run by the State of Oklahoma. For several years, he enjoyed working for the county election board with his wife Minnie during local and national elections.

Gale loved to travel. For his and his family members’ enjoyment, he’d been to thirty-seven states including Hawaii and Alaska, as well as Canada and Mexico. He loved to spend time at Lake Tenkiller in Eastern Oklahoma, his second home. He also loved to build and fly Radio Control Model Airplanes, take pictures and watch old movies on TV.

He was preceded in death by the most lovable, loving wife, Minnie, his parents, two brothers, and two sisters. He is survived by two sons and their wives, Michael and Barbara Horton, Rodger and Terri Horton; two daughters and their husbands, Tracie and Aaron Wade, Kristie and Mark Botkin. Six grandchildren and spouses, Laura (Tyler) Wellman, Dustin (Amanda) Wade, Charleen (Chance) Klupenger, Matthew Horton, Heather (Aaron) Zaldana, Michael (Amber) Long; 20 great-grandchildren, 2 great-great grandchildren; a sister-in-law, and a brother-in-law, several nephews, nieces, cousins, and friends.

Visitation will be from 1 to 7 p.m., Sunday, May 3, at Cooper Funeral Home. Private Family Graveside Services will be held at 10 a.m., Monday, May 4, with Pastor Will Wilson, New Hope Baptist Church officiating under the direction of Cooper Funeral Home of Tecumseh.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CDC and State of Oklahoma Regulations and Guidelines, all attendees are to remain in their vehicles or join the celebration of Gale’s life through Cooper Funeral Home’s Facebook page for live streaming of the service.

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