James Horton

Greenville |

James Franklin Horton, Jr., was born May 17, 1944, in Roswell, New Mexico, and died peacefully May 11, 2024, in Austin, TX. He is predeceased by his parents James Franklin Horton, Sr. and Carolyn Hampton Horton; Dianne Wahl Horton, and stepson Brandon Lamb. Jim is survived by his wife Deborah Lamb Horton, children James Franklin Horton, III and Kelly Loyd Horton of Golden, Colorado. Tamatha Horton Smith of Fort Worth TX; and Jeremy Horton of Dayton, NV; Stepson, Jared Lamb and wife Lauren of Austin Texas, as well as four grandchildren Emma Smith DeFoore, spouse Jake DeFoore; Natalie Smith, Trammel Horton and Katie Horton Hartshorn, spouse Trevor Hartshorn. Jim will be missed by his siblings, Larry W. Horton, M.D. and Deborah Horton Fink Sailsbery, Ed.D. as well as many cousins, nieces and nephews.

Jim grew up in Greenville, Illinois, graduating from Greenville High School in 1962. He finished his college education at the University of Illinois and was awarded a Ph.D. from University of North Texas.

Jim was a lifetime educator, committed to making the world a better place through learning. He served as college president at North Lake College, Irving, TX, Chancellor of San Jacinto College College District in Houston, TX; Vice Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology in United Arab Emirates with a 12 college system serving the entire country of the UAE; and Chancellor of the Yavapai Community College System in Arizona. His innovations at each of these institutions brought about transformational learning for the fortunate students who attended. He had a love of Aviation and served as an academic liaison for Guidance Aviation in Prescott, AZ.

Jim was passionate about community involvement and was a member of multiple professional organizations. He received many awards during his career, but was most proud of the NASA Public Service Award given for his development of the concept of an Aerospace Academy, which was an exceptional NASA learning experience for young scientists and their high school teachers.

As an avid deep sea diver and lover of wildlife, Jim has requested an ocean-centered Celebration of Life in southern Texas. In July or August, his beloved children, grandchildren and family members will scatter his ashes in the ocean returning him to God’s creation.

We have lost a lovely person who made a difference in this world. Every day, he lived into the belief expounded by Nelson Mandela "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Jim’s philosophy on Community Colleges : “The Community College is a high point in the realization of our nation’s democratic ideals. In an age of increased complexity, every citizen must have the opportunity to continue learning. Consequently, I am a devout believer in the “open door” comprehensive community college philosophy. I also believe that open admissions policy places greater responsibility on the college for the success of each student”.

Jim was the most generous, brilliant, talented, inquisitive person.

He was a true gentleman, a lover of music, art, flying, hiking, diving, animals, cultural diversity, and nature.

He will be greatly missed.

A tribute video is available to watch online for Jim by visiting  No formal services are planned at this time.  Donnell - Wiegand Funeral Home, Greenville, in charge of local arrangements.

Obit Provided By:
Donnell-Wiegand Funeral Home

Print Version

Join our mailing list Subscribe to our Daily Update
200 W. Third Street | Alton, IL 62002
Suite 200
HOME  |   Advertise With Us  |   Job Opportunities  |   Our Partners  |   Web Design Services  |   Contact US  |   Site Map   |  RSS Feeds  |  Email   |  Privacy Policy