By Myron Horst
My parents, Otho and Dorothy Horst celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2011
My mother passed from this life to be with Jesus on Thursday, March 29, 2012. She died of lung cancer which might have been caused by the elevated levels of radon in her home. She never smoked or lived or worked in an environment that would have caused lung cancer.
My mother was born April 28, 1928 near Clear Spring, Maryland, during an unusually late major snow storm that brought down power lines and made it difficult for the doctor to get to the house. Usually in central Maryland there is a cold snap during the time that the dogwood trees are blooming, called Dogwood Winter. It was during Dogwood Winter that she was born. I find it interesting that for the rest of her life she had a special love for seeing the dogwood trees bloom each spring. She even named our house at Gaithersburg, Dogwood Cottage, where we had 20 dogwood trees on a 1/3 acre lot. She was born to Samuel and Emma Showalter Eby. Her father was a farmer and pastor.
My mother had a curious mind that loved to learn and to observe what was going on around her which she instilled in me. She never wanted to miss anything. She went to college, which was very unusual for the Mennonite community that she grew up in, and became a teacher and taught in several Christian schools before marrying my father.
She had a heart for serving others which was evident throughout her life. She touched the lives of many people in her 83 years. My parents took me, when I was three months old, to the country of Belize in Central America where we lived for five years. There in Belize City, they helped start two churches. My mother taught me that a person’s color is only skin deep, and to treat each person the same regardless of their skin color. My sister and I were the only white children in the Sunday school there.
After we moved back to Maryland, my father was pastor at a small church in Gaithersburg for about 30 years. My mother was an excellent support for him in his role as pastor. Women would often call her and talk with her, receiving her counsel, love and support. She taught in the Christian school at our church and was principal for a number of years.
Before they were old enough to retire, my parents decided that they would like to give several more years of their life in voluntary service before they were too old to do so. They went to Florida for six months and helped rebuild after Hurricane Andrew, and then went to Arkansas for a year and a half where my father was chaplain at a nursing home and they served as house parents for the voluntary service unit.
When they retired in 2000, they moved to a beautiful location in the Shenandoah Valley near Broadway, Virginia which they called Grande View. Not content to sit around and “rot away”, my parents soon became involved in the community there. My father became interim pastor at a mountain church in West Virginia and also served as assistant overseer of five area churches. My mother was a loving and faithful supporter as they worked with the people in the churches.
After Cathy and I had children, I realized more how much my mother gave of herself when I was a baby, a toddler, and in my growing up years. I owe a lot to her and am grateful for all that she has done for me and for the multitude of things that she taught me. She was a sweet and loving grandmother and never undermined Cathy and my parenting of our children. We will miss her a lot, and look forward to seeing her again in Heaven.