FALMOUTH - Joan T. “Jody” Horton, 93, died on Wednesday, February 21 at Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough. Born Mary Joan Tomlinson in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on August 21, 1924, she was the daughter of the late M.P. “Tommy” and Marjorie Newcomer Tomlinson.
Jody spent her childhood moving from place to place, as her father traveled for his work with Ford Motor Company and then General Motors to locations including Chicago, South Bend, St Paul MN, Pontiac MI, Cleveland, and Atlanta. She met her future husband Thad Horton through his sister Tracy, who was Jody’s roommate at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. In July 1944, she married Thad shortly before he shipped off to Guam to serve as a bomber pilot in the Army Air Corps in the final year of World War II.
After the war the couple and their growing family lived in Atlanta until 1959, and then moved to Pound Ridge, New York. In 1968 they purchased a summer home on Little Diamond Island in Portland, where Jody spent time for more than 40 summers. With their four children all grown and upon Thad’s retirement, the couple moved in 1983 to the Ledgewood Condominiums in Portland. Jody lived there until several years after Thad’s death in 2001, when she moved to OceanView At Falmouth. There she met Walther (Walt) Stephenson, who became her close companion for the rest of her life.
Jody loved many kinds of music, and sang in the church choir at Trinity Episcopal Church in Portland for three decades. She volunteered for many years as an usher at Portland Stage Company. She was a baker and a maker, baking sand dabs and making cheese straws every year at Christmastime, doing needlepoint with her “stitch and bitch” group, completing acrostics, and doing complex jigsaw puzzles without ever looking at the box covers. She read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice nearly every year of her life. She loved traveling, especially in England and Scotland and was a dedicated gardener, especially at Little Diamond and then at Ocean View. She had a keen sense of propriety, but also a bawdy sense of humor that she hid behind her quick smile and revealed only to those very close to her.
Jody was predeceased by her husband of 57 years, Thad Horton; and her brother Richard “Dick” Tomlinson. She is survived by her four sons, Scott L. Horton and his wife Leslie Richfield of Portland; Richard K. Horton and his wife Judith Mitchell of Waldoboro; Glenn T. Horton and his wife Carol of Seattle, WA; and Evan H. Horton of Portland; as well as four grandchildren, Nick Horton of Portland; Ashley Horton of Burlington, VT; Edan Horton Mohr of Brooklyn, NY; and Sarah Horton of Seattle, WA; three step-grandchildren, Peter Asen of Cranston, RI, Taylor Asen of Portland and Jonathan Asen of Portland; and five great grandchildren. She is survived by her companion of seven years Walther Stephenson, and his children, Roger and his wife Mona Stephenson of Stratham, NH, and Bruce and his wife Kelley Stephenson of Newport, Maine.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 17th at 11am at Trinity Episcopal Church, 580 Forest Avenue in Portland. For those who wish to make donations in Jody’s memory and name: Good Shepherd Food Bank or Project Feed.