ELYRIA — A funeral procession for retired Elyria firefighter and Sheffield Township Trustee Mark Horton is expected to bring thousands of people to Elyria Catholic High School on Saturday for a memorial service will honor his life.
Sheffield Township trustees are encouraging people to line up about 9 a.m. on Broadway near the firehouse for a processional route from Dovin and Reber Jones Funeral Home on Cooper Foster Park Road to Elyria Catholic High School.
The procession will go from Cooper Foster eastbound to Broadway; north on Broadway to an old firehouse owned by Horton, then continue on to the Elyria Catholic parking lot.
The procession will pause at the old firehouse where Sheffield Township firefighters will solute Horton.
Sheffield Township Trustee Chad Parsons said Horton bought the firehouse from the township after it built a new one.
“It’s such a sad situation,” Parsons said. “Mark was so passionate about township government and making a difference in the short period of time he served.”
After the memorial service, a second procession of firetrucks from around the area will head to Calvary Cemetery.
Horton was killed Sunday when a car traveling in the opposite direction on state Route 58 in Wellington Township veered left of center. Both Horton and the other driver, Cody Wallace, 21, of New London, were trapped in their vehicles and pronounced dead at the scene.
Many in the community know Horton through his role as a firefighter, which began as a kid when his grandfather was chief of the Sheffield Township Fire Department.
“He would sit there and make him answer the phones,” said Sheffield Township Trustee Pat Echko.
Horton began working as a firefighter as a teenager as a volunteer for Sheffield Township, where his father also served.
He was an Elyria firefighter for 29 years and served as president of the Local 474 Union for 25 years before stepping down in 2006 to focus on his role as the secretary and treasurer of the Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters.
In November 2014, Horton was elected trustee in Sheffield Township.
Echko said Thursday she was gathering people to decorate Broadway for the procession. She’s known Horton since high school and said he was a true asset to the community. So much so that she initially encouraged him to consider running for a trustee seat.
Echko will be reading a proclamation for Horton’s service at Elyria Catholic.
In deciding what to say, she’s asked the community to describe Horton in three words and read some of the responses she’s received: “Advocate for fairness. Every moment matters. Service before self. Courtesy is contagious. Love thy neighbor.”
The Horton family will receive friends and family 3 to 8 p.m. Friday at Dovin and Reber Jones Funeral Home, 1110 Cooper Foster Park Road in Amherst.