Joan Horton of Peconic died peacefully at home on March 24, 2022, surrounded by family. She was 86 years old.
Joan was born Jan. 23, 1936, in Greenport, N.Y., to Dorothy (Corke) and Ottomar Gerhardt. She was raised in Cutchogue, N.Y., alongside her sister, Elizabeth (Betsy) Tyler.
She attended Mattituck High School, where she was involved in the music program. She was famously known for her participation in the “Mattituck Octet,” which spurred her love of singing.
She sang with Cutchogue Presbyterian Church’s choir, and it was there that she met her true love, Phil. She married Philip Goldsmith Horton on Nov. 26, 1955. They started their life together at the Horton family farmhouse in Peconic, where all of her children were born, later moving into their permanent home on Peconic Bay.
Joan was a constant fixture in her children’s lives, becoming a Girl Scout and 4-H leader, attending her children’s sporting events and performances, and teaching swimming lessons in the summer.
Once her children were grown she became involved with East End Hospice, working and volunteering with them for over 20 years. In addition, she volunteered with RSVP, participated in the North Fork Chorale, and was a 60-year member of the Cutchogue Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary.
After becoming a grandmother, she remained faithful to nurturing her family. Over time she became known as “Gramma Joan” to everyone she met. Her home, which was always open to guests, was lovingly deemed the “Horton Hotel,” known for its extravagant holiday parties, Fourth of July weekends and revelry of all kinds! She was a true matriarch, keeping friends and family, both near and far, connected through her home — a place that has been a sanctuary and a haven for many, due largely to the sense of community Joan created over the years.
Predeceased by her husband and their infant son, Philip Gary Horton, she is survived by her sister; children Jeffrey (Andrea) Horton of Exeter, Pa., Deborah (Chuck) VanDuzer of Peconic, N.Y., and Donna (Nol) Horton-Batist of Peconic; grandchildren Adam Horton, Sara Campa, Jesse VanDuzer, Amanda (Val) Ramnarine and Carly and Pamela Batist; as well as great-grandchildren Avery, Cole, Ben and Ellie.
The family will receive visitors Monday, March 28, from 4 to 7 p.m. at DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home in Southold, where funeral services will be held at 6 p.m., with the Rev. Peter J. Kelley officiating. Graveside services will be held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 29, at Cutchogue Cemetery, where she will be laid to rest next to her husband and son.
Memorial donations may be made to East End Hospice or the Christopher Brandle Joy of Life Foundation.
This is a paid notice.