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Peter (Pete) Horton

Peter was born to Henry D. and Katherine R. (Hart) Horton on March 25, 1938 in Butte, MT. He passed away at his home in Helena in the early morning hours of February 19, 2019 with his wife Debbie and caregiver Lisa at his side. He was 80 years old.

Pete spent his early years in Butte until WWII broke out and his parents moved to Grand Rapids, MN where his father worked in Duluth ship yards. While in Grand Rapids, Sister Karen and twin sisters Margrette and Kathryn joined the family.

After the war the family followed their dream to return to Montana first living in Sheridan, MT for a year and then moving to Butte. Pete attended Hawthorne Grade School and graduated from Butte High School in 1956. That fall found Pete enrolled at Montana Tech where he majored in general studies, football and as he said “too much fun.” That spring, he began working summers for the Forest Service serving in the Deer Lodge and Helena National Forests for several years.

Pete transferred to Montana State University in Bozeman where he met and married Adona Samuels in July 1960 in Helena, MT. While living in Bozeman their first daughter Leslie was born. Pete earned his BA in Agricultural Education and Science from MSU in the spring of 1962.

The summer of 1962 found the family moving to White Sulphur Springs, MT where Pete began a 39 year career of teaching. He taught both junior and senior high classes. He was active in the Jaycee’s, the restoration of the historic “Castle Mansion” and church choir. Daughters Stacy and Sonvje joined the family.

The summer of 1970 Pete received his MA in Geology, Chemistry and Math from Idaho State University and the family moved to Helena where Pete began teaching at the Helena Junior High. Pete also taught woodworking through Adult Education for 13 years and guitar lessons for 8 years. In the summers he and friend Bill Dotter ran the Rattlesnake Brothers Construction Co. doing building and remodeling in the Helena area.

In 1983 Pete married Debbie Burke and gained another daughter Kitty and three sons, Shawn, Scott and Kyle.

Pete retired from the Helena School District in the spring of 1993 and began to remodel a cabin that they purchased in Elliston, MT. He spent many days building, watching birds and relaxing in the country. In 1995 Pete resumed his teaching habit joining the Construction Technology Department at the Helena College of Technology. He enjoyed building the “trade” houses and teaching skills to many students. He loved the job.

Pete retired from teaching in 2003 and returned to working on the cabin. In 2005 he found the warm weather and rock piles of Arizona. They purchased a small home in Bouse, AZ where Pete spent 13 winters pursuing rock hounding, jewelry design, silversmithing, and enjoying the desert wildflowers and birds.

Pete was a man of many interests and talents. He played guitar, piano and other instruments as well as sang. Along with friend Woody he followed Jazz and Bluegrass music festivals throughout the northwest. He created beautiful stained glass art, he was a carpenter and fine wood worker, a dedicated bird watcher and wildflower admirer and loved soaring in an airplane. He continued to increase his varied education until he passed.

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Pete was a member of the Helena Mineral Society and the Helena Audubon Society.

He is survived by his wife Debbie, daughters Leslie Horton Sheeley, Stacy (J.T.) Wheeler, Sonny (Scott) Kuhr, sisters Margrette (Bob) Akers, and Kate Blankenship. Stepchildren Shawn (Audry) Burke, Kitty (Billy) Thomas, Scott (Tammy) Burke and Kyle Burke. Grandchildren Briana (Jake) Stecks, Adonis (Caitlin) Sheeley, Chad (Cindy) Sheeley, Jack Wheeler, Sam Wheeler, Megan Kuhr, A.J. Kuhr, Samantha Burke, Cheyenne Burke, Jordon Tabbert, Kyle Thomas, Darin Burke, Cristin Burke, Malina Scott, Cadence Burke and Dylan Burke. Great grandchildren Audri Sheeley, Kord Sheeley, Henry Sheeley, mother in law Marge Shandy and sister in law and brother in law Lin and Jim Quigley. He was also survived by lifelong friends, Lisle Wood, David (Susie) Marshall and Ethel Dickman.

Pete was preceded in death by his parents Henry and Katherine Horton and his sister Karen Dillon.

We would like to thank Barb and Ron Marcoux, Lin and Jim Quigley, Lisa Schmitz and Eric Bones for the love, care and support they gave to Pete.

We certainly will miss you Papa!

A celebration of Pete’s life will be held on Saturday, March 23, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home, 3750 N. Montana Ave. in Helena, MT with a reception to follow in the social hall of the funeral home. Rather than flowers, Pete would have appreciated any donation to Youth Institute, c/o Helena Mineral Society, P.O. Box 736, Helena, MT 59624 or to the American Lung Association by visiting www.lung.org. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Pete.

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