Thomas Lee Horton

Born in Nashville, TN on April 22, 1966

Departed on December 19, 2020 and resided in Nashville, TN

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Thomas Lee Horton, 54, died December 19, 2020, at Alive Hospice in Nashville, Tenn. after a brief illness.

He was born April 22, 1966, in Nashville, Tenn., the son of Thomas L. Horton and Thelma Prince Horton. Thomas graduated from Hillwood High School, Class of 1984. Following graduation, he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in French from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., and his Master’s Degree in French Literature from the University of Virginia. He attended L’Alliance française Paris, and taught English to French students in the city of Marseille, France. He would also study linguistics there and throughout his life. He served as Creative Director for the 2002 Democratic Coordinated Campaign and served the state of Tennessee under the Governor Phil Bredesen Administration as Creative and Marketing Strategist for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, as well as several other statewide campaigns. He founded marketing and consultant group Mind Cartel, Inc. Thomas most recently served at G2 Wireless as a client support representative.

Thomas was the author of the cult favorite novel Titanic Days and was a multi-published poet and creative designer of poetry publications, including the books Mosaic: A Poetry Anthology, Moments, Olifant: A Publication of the Societe Rencesvals American-Canadian Branch Volumes 16-18, and Living in Historic Times: Poets Collective Anthology no. 7. He was principal author of the two television series Legacy and Bayport, now in pre-production and overseen by co-author Nannette Clark, as well as several other unfinished projects.

Known to friends in China as “The Happy Buddha,” he was a native English speaker, was fluent in French, Portuguese, German, Spanish and Italian, and was proficient in Mandarin, ASL and Russian. Thomas sang at several public events and was well known on the Nashville karaoke and performance art scenes. He served as a community activist on several political initiatives and served as a pundit in support of LGBTQ rights for several media outlets. He quietly assisted victims of domestic violence and helped to connect them with resources such as employment, housing and stability.

He is preceded in death by his father Thomas L. Horton, his mother Thelma Prince Horton, and his brother Robert E. Horton.

He is survived by brothers Russell E. Prince, Joseph A. Horton, sister Genetta L. Lafferty, sister in law Hollie Horton, brother in law Michael Lafferty, nieces Sara Lafferty Pittman and husband Brian Pittman, Emily Horton, Olivia Horton, nephew Andrew Lafferty and wife Karen Lafferty, great nephews Caleb Lafferty and Thatcher Pittman, great nieces Anna Lafferty, Tèa Prince, and Isabelle Pittman, best friends and confidants Brian “Sully” Sullivan, Nannette Clark, Carrie Lowery, and countless other friends, lovers and partners in good mischief.

His memorial services will be limited to family and close friends due to COVID-19 restrictions, and will take place graveside at Harpeth Hills Cemetery, 9090 TN-100, Nashville, TN 37221, Tuesday, December 29, 2020 at 10:36am.

Those who wish to show their love for Thomas and support for his family are welcome to line up in a procession of vehicles beginning at 10:36am. After the graveside has ended at approximately 11am, the procession will quietly drive past the graveside with silent gestures such as signs on poster boards or leaving a single rose out of the window as the family stands to acknowledge them. Please refrain from honking.

West Harpeth Funeral Home and Crematory is honored to serve the family, Brian Sullivan will officiate, and the service will feature performances by Memory Strong Smith and Thomas Horton himself via recording.

Messages of condolences in honor of Thomas Horton may be sent to 6962 Charlotte Pike, Nashville, TN 37209. In lieu of flowers, family requests donations be made to one of Tom’s favorite charities, Second Harvest Food Bank.

Once safety restrictions are lifted, family and friends hope to plan a larger memorial service surrounding his birthday April 22, 2021, safety permitting.
We love you, you hateful queen.


38 Comments to Thomas Lee Horton

  1. Trish Crist and Michael Carty says:

    All love.

  2. Lisa Turnbow says:

    Sending love and peace to the entire Prince/Horton Family. Hugs Sully and Nannette.

  3. Carissa Wikstrom says:

    Tom was an unforgettable, undeniable force of raw goodness. He touched the lives and hearts of many, and will be sorely missed. I would love the opportunity to attend his memorial remotely, if that is a possibility. While Tom may not be here in his body, he will live on in our hearts. May his memory be a blessing to all who knew him.

  4. Mary says:

    Oh, Tom … I hope the next part of your journey is everything you’d hope it would be.

  5. Neil Bergman says:

    Peace and love to all who were fortunate to share the bright star that was Thomas Horton.

  6. Nicky 2Gs says:

    Tom was definitely one of a kind- every time I encountered Tom, he challenged me to learn something new about myself, ready or not.
    Though we hadn’t seen each other in awhile, I will always remember our poker showdowns and Battered and Fried dinner.
    My thoughts and deepest prayers to all those who knew and loves Thomas!

  7. Celeste Jackson says:

    Tom, you will always be remembered with fondness and love. May the joy you brought to others bless those you left behind.

  8. Tiffany kovatch says:

    I don’t know what to say!! I didn’t know Tom but from what I’m reading he was a amazing person!! Rest In Peace Thomas!!

  9. Don Holloway says:

    Such love and energy in life, Tom. Time now to rest.

  10. Sonya Thompson says:

    Sending loving thoughts and prayers to all his family and friends. He always had a warm and happy disposition and spread true kindness in the world. His iconic presence will be truly missed but his imprint of good will last forever.

  11. Karen Hunt Ahmed says:

    Peace and Power
    Grace and Dignity
    Love You, Tom

  12. Mary Boren says:

    My heart goes out to Tom’s closest family (by birth and by choice) who stood by him in life and death, and to all of us who love him across time and space. His transition leaves a gaping hole in the poetry community he helped facilitate and in the world made better by his presence. These lines written by my dad come to mind …

    As they witness my departure,
    Those I love and leave behind me
    Will be touched by grief and sorrow,
    And shall murmur: “There he goes.”
    Over on the other shoreline,
    Those who watch for my arrival
    Will rejoice with joy eternal,
    And shall whisper: “Here he comes.”

  13. Web Webster says:

    Healing peace and light to Tom’s family and friends.

  14. Laura Miller says:

    May all who knew and loved Tom find peace and retain a lifetime of laughter and memories.

  15. Charlotte says:

    Beautiful soul inspires, nay compels me to grab more joy from life. Thank you Tom.

  16. Sarah Wayland says:

    Rest In Peace, Tom. I knew Tom from Rhodes and remember that he never wanted to sleep for fear of missing out on something fun. I pray that Tom is at peace and surveying every bit of fun that he wishes, and those he loves, from the great beyond.

  17. Jonda Valentine says:

    Tom you were a path of light to me and so many others! A light of wisdom, intelligence, forgiveness, love, but most of all a light for so many to find their path in life! You were always there for me when I needed you the most! You will be missed tremendously! Fly free my friend! I know your light is shining down on us and through us! Your legacy are all the people you have touched and changed their lives for the better! You will never be forgotten in this world! I can only hope my legacy will be that great! One day I will see you again and I will celebrate the new world with you! I love you Tom ❤️

  18. Genetta (Genny) Lafferty says:

    Tom was many, many things :a thoughtful, generous, kind soul. He was my brother, who felt as much like my son ( as there are 12 years difference in age). He could be exasperating when he would tell me when I was wrong about almost every subject, from the age of around three! Unfortunately for me, he was usually right. He grew to be one of the most intelligent people I have ever had the privilege to know, much less to be able to call brother.

    Tom always encouraged me to step out, do something different in my life. He was largely responsible for my love of travel and I was able to follow him to Europe not once, but twice. He gave me the courage to roam around Paris on my own although I could only speak perhaps five phrases. I was so impressed and enormously proud that most were unable to tell he was not officially French.

    My prayer now is that Tom is able to travel the entire world at his leisure, flying high, landing where he wants, learning new languages. Perhaps he will take our mother with him as she always expressed the desire to travel, but never did.

    Who’s going to lead all these kids in “Game of Things”?

    I love you Tom and don’t know how to go through this world without you as my brother, my friend, my confidant. Rest in peace, kiss Mom, Dad and Rob for me. My heart is broken in a thousand pieces.

  19. Mel (Carmela) Patterson-Mooney says:

    The way I see it is Thomas Horton received his Invitation … rest in peace, Thomas, joining your beloved parents and family, until it will be our turn, one by one.

  20. Seannalyn Brandmeir says:

    All of my love to Tom’s family and friends. I had the honor of working with Tom on the Bredesen campaign and at ECD. I’ll miss him very much. May his memory be a blessing.

  21. Margarita Sweet says:

    Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal. Sending healing heavenly energy to you all in this most difficult season. Tom was always a blessing. Clearly he was born to be a blessing.

  22. Amie Lara says:

    Tom, you were such a fabulous human being. We didn’t see each other that often, but you were always an absolute joy to talk to. You are loved and will be missed. Rest In Peace.

  23. Sheri DiGiovanna says:

    Sending love and peace to Tom’s family. Tom was so loved by me and many. We grieve for our huge loss along with you.

  24. Robin says:

    Tommy Lee, my hilarious, over-the-top, larger than life cousin from Nashville.

    I never thought that I would have to imagine a world without you. I am absolutely crushed by your death.
    No one will ever come close to filling the void you’ve left.

    I am eternally grateful to you for bringing my mom and I back together before her death. Please give her a hug and kiss for me.

    Love you forever, Tommy Lee. Rest in peace.

  25. Robin Korb says:

    Tommy Lee, my hilarious, over-the-top, larger than life cousin from Nashville.

    I never thought that I would have to imagine a world without you. I am absolutely crushed by your death.
    No one will ever come close to filling the void you’ve left.

    I am eternally grateful to you for bringing my mom and I back together before her death. Please give her a hug and kiss for me.

    Love you forever, Tommy Lee. Rest in peace.

  26. Pascale Hapgood says:

    Fond memories of classes with Tom at UVA or chit chat in the hallways of Cabell Hall.
    Rest in Peace, my friend!

  27. Dean & Anthony (Talyah) Underwood. says:

    Amazing, unique, powerful life force.
    Lived. Laughed. Loved.
    Brilliant mind.

  28. Jo Elle says:

    Chaque ami qui part ajoute une larme à nos joues et une blessure à nos coeurs.
    Bon voyage, mon ami!

  29. Alva Bronaugh says:

    Tom thank you for making the world a better place. I remember meeting Tom at a poker tournament 15 yes ago and he’s openness to accept people for who they were. I loved his honesty, his strength to live life by his own rules and how everytime I saw him he extended love and kindness. You will be missed friend. R.I.P & Love.

  30. Jacqueline George jake says:

    Friends friends I can come out now

    Friends friends come out…I can play now

    The one and only

    Love you big guy

  31. Ali Winters says:

    Tom – you were an amazingly witty, charming, and captivating person. Your generosity of time, spirit, and attention always intrigued me and drew many into your circle. A unique man has left this world and I can’t help but wonder what you may be thinking about all of this. I need your commentary to make this make sense. I leave you with my mourning haiku in your honor:

    Morsels so tiny
    Texture, flavor, a fusion
    Stuff on a cracker.

    Much love to you, my dear friend.

  32. Heather Lose says:

    I will never stop loving you, Tom Horton. Thanks for all the laughs, all the joy, and all the love.


    Tom, your wit, passion, and uniqueness will be missed. Praying for your family’s comfort and peace. You left a footprint. Thank you.

  34. Lori Neely says:

    May you rest in peace. It was an honor to have known you and called you friend.

    Prayers and condolences to family and friends.

  35. Steve Mogck says:

    Tom was a true light and touched so many lives in a positive way. He was brilliant, supportive, funny, sarcastic, and if you wanted a truthful opinion from him, He would surely give it to you, as any true friend should. Tom loved singing Karaoke, and I was privileged to host many a Karaoke night over the past 15 years with his extraordinary presence. Tom would meet new Singers and ask to perform duets with many of them. So many of his friendships were forged through Karaoke over the years. I will surely never be able to sing, “Under Pressure” or “ You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” again without thinking of him. He truly effected many of Us and made a difference in our lives with his thoughtfulness, honesty, and love. He leaves a legacy that anyone would be proud of. He was loved and will be dearly missed.

  36. Jo Francisco says:

    A world without Tom Horton is unimaginable. I shall never forget his superior intelligence, his sweet personality and more wonderful qualities than I can name. One of most brilliant people I have ever known. I will miss you, Thomas, forever and will never forget you.

  37. Dr. Jeanne Gore says:

    Man of peace, man of poetry, man of smiles, man of deep intelligence: rest and reignite in paradise.

  38. Jonathan (JT) Topazian says:

    What a tragic loss of a wonderful man far too young to pass away. Tom was the most generous friend I have ever had and he always held out his helping hand to others. I will miss Tom very much, but will see him again in heaven when my own life turns to dreams.

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