In Memoriam: Jennifer Leah Horton
March 09, 2009
OSA remembers Jennifer Leah Horton, former OSA Finance Director
Jennifer Leah Horton, OSA Director of Finance and Administration from 1988-1994, passed away on March 9, 2009 at her home in High Point, NC, USA. She was 59.
When Mrs. Horton joined OSA in 1988, the Society owned a townhome at 1816 Jefferson Place, Washington, DC and was renting space at several nearby offices in order to accommodate an increasingly larger staff. Working with Executive Director Jarus Quinn, Horton helped to locate OSA’s current headquarters building at 2010 Massachusetts Ave., NW. She also oversaw the relocation project, with overall responsibility for the financing, renovations and the move to the new location. Among Mrs. Horton’s other notable achievements at OSA was her selection of Liz Rogan in 1992 as Controller. Rogan became OSA Executive Director in 2002.
When Horton retired, she moved to Greensboro, NC to continue her education at Guilford College. She soon faced a series of health issues: during the month of her graduation, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and she later developed back problems that required surgery. During that surgery, her spinal cord was accidentally severed, leaving her wheelchair-bound. Despite these challenges, Horton led an active life. She was a committed member of the Central North Carolina Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Horton is survived by her husband, Connie Horton.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 21, 2009 at the Pennybyrn Maryfield Retirement Home, 109 Penny Road, High Point, NC.
If you would like to make a donation to the OSA Foundation in remembrance of Jennifer Horton, please go to: www.osa-foundation.org/give.
Tributes to Jennifer Horton
“Jennifer and Jarus hired me in 1992. She had an enormous job and was a model of effective leadership for the OSA staff and volunteers. Her generosity, hard work and appreciation for a good margarita after a tough day at the office made for wonderful memories. She also somehow knew how to communicate accounting theory to Jarus, quite the accomplishment. Jennifer will forever be remembered by her friends and colleagues at OSA.”
“Jennifer Horton joined OSA at a critical time in our growth. We were outgrowing our location and needed to find a solution. Jennifer and I began the search for quarters in which the entire staff could be together. We found the building at 2010 Massachusetts Avenue and explored the possibility of a future location there. We managed to make the transfer, but we could never have accomplished it without Jennifer’s devotion to the financing, contractor management, current tenant arrangements, and the myriad other tasks associated with the move, not the least of which was a bankrupt contractor. This she did while continuing to manage our day-to-day finances.
Jennifer faced a turning point in her life when her retirement plans were disrupted, first by her diagnosis of MS, and later, by her botched operation. How could her life continue without severe changes? Would she be house-bound in her wheelchair? Andrea Pendleton came to the rescue. She initiated a fund drive to purchase a van with wheelchair access for Jennifer. The fund drive was successful and Jennifer soon mastered the art of driving with hand controls. Although Jennifer’s life ended far too soon, her last few years were brightened considerably by the freedom that Andrea’s effort had provided.”
Jarus W. Quinn
Former OSA Executive Director
“Soon after Jennifer started as OSA’s Finance Director, she and I were planning to attend our first CESSE meeting in New York. Since the meeting was at the Waldorf-Astoria, I thought I’d get some ‘brownie points’ by asking if Jennifer wanted to share a room. She turned me down flat, saying that she preferred to have her own room, so I just made my own reservation.
We travelled to New York together, got to the Waldorf, and went to check in. Jennifer got her key and waited for me. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to guarantee for late arrival, the hotel was sold out, and there were no rooms available! The clerk said that we could stay together and Jennifer graciously agreed to this. But this meant bringing in a rollaway bed, since Jennifer’s room was very small with only a twin bed.
How small was it? Well, the only way we could set up an ironing board the next morning was by rolling up the rollaway! The good news was that they switched us to a much larger and more ‘Waldorf-like’ room for the rest of the meeting...and we saved OSA lots of money.”
Executive Director, American Association of Anatomists
“She was a remarkable woman, with a warm heart and laser-direct insight. The world is a poorer place without her.”
Dorn & Hanson, PC
“What I remember most about Jennifer was that she wore so many hats at OSA and she was sooo detailed about every one of her jobs. She would follow up on the smallest thing and get it done right...and if she thought you weren’t being straight with her, she’d call you on it. One morning I popped into her office to say ‘hi.’ She’d just gotten off the phone with one of the building’s tenants and I could tell she was really angry. In the course of our chat I made a comment about how I could barely fit into the elevator that morning because some guy had a huge ladder in there. She perked up with ‘really? What did he look like?’ I gave a description and she grabbed the phone, called the tenant back and said ‘I have a witness! Your guy did the damage!’ Unknown to me, Jennifer had had a ‘discussion’ with a tenant because there were ladder marks across one of the nice new floors and the tenant had denied ever having a ladder. The tenant fessed up...and I realized just how many things Jennifer had to deal with...right down to ladder marks on the new floors. I really enjoyed working with her.”
Former OSA staff member turned comedian
“What a great lady she was to work with on the OSA Headquarters project! Here is one of my favorite photos of Jennifer, taken at the opening of the 2010 Massachusetts Avenue building, probably in 1991.”
Jeffrey M. Stoiber
AIA, Stoiber and Associates, PC
“Among the first words that I heard from Jennifer were, ‘You’re hired.’ Of course I was very happy and we became fast friends. Her husband, Connie, worked part time for OSA in an old school in Bowie where we stored our books and we became friends as well. The doctor who brought me into this world was named Horton and I always felt that I had a special connection with Jennifer and Connie.
After they left the world of OSA and moved to NC, I stayed with them while my oldest son did a student visit to High Point College. Later, when he enrolled at Elon University I again became a guest in her home. On their last trip to DC a couple of years ago I was able to have them as guests in our home. She marveled at the ramp that I built for her to have easy access to our home for her wheel chair.
Jennifer was a wonderful and kind lady whom I will miss greatly. She was always sending me humorous emails with little personal notes attached about her life in the South with Connie.”
Alan N. Tourtlotte
Associate Publisher, OSA
“Jennifer was a very competent, no nonsense individual. She made her opinions very clear.”
OSA Fellow Emeritus
“I remember my first interview with Jennifer for a position in the Meetings Department. A few weeks later, Jennifer called to ask me to interview for the Peer Review Manager's position. Jennifer thought it was a position more in tune with my background and interests. As it turned out, Jennifer was right - as she most often was. While at OSA, I found Jennifer to be supportive, encouraging and always willing to give of her time to myself and others on staff. Her dedication, drive, and perseverance were extraordinary.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity of meeting up with Jennifer, Connie and a few other 'OSAers' for dinner in Crystal City. To say the least, Jennifer floored me as she recounted her most recent fundraising activities for the MS Society in North Carolina. Here she was in a wheel chair and working tirelessly to raise money, and with so many ideas on how to do so. I had to ask myself, 'How does she do it?' The answer was simple. Jennifer couldn't be any other way. This was 'the same old Jennifer' that I had known at OSA. Jennifer was truly a remarkable woman.”
Mary Ann Searby
Former OSA staff member