In tribute: Friend’s helping hands will be missed

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

Friends and family agree — Rocky Horton would give you whatever help you needed, whether it was a hand, some money, or even a toilet. On Dec. 23, he gave his life.

Horton, 44, died in an accident while doing plumbing for a friend in need in Farwell. Childhood friend Layne Norris said Horton lived to help people, so it was just as well he died that way, too.

“If you ever needed help and he knew it, he would cover you up with help,” Norris said. “You could just mention what you were doing and that you were kind of shorthanded.”

Horton, born April 25, 1963, in Clovis, and his wife Suzahn operated the Sparklin’ Wash car wash, Mighty Vac Pumping Service and the Mighty Clean portable toilet business.

Rob Pitcock, who works for a construction company in Clovis, knew Horton since first grade and always did business with him on portable toilets for construction sites.

Horton ran a great business, Pitcock said, but it was even better when Horton would take a few minutes out of his day to come talk about his Christian faith, or whatever else was on his mind.

Often, it was the faith, Suzahn said.

“It was a constant,” said Suzahn, who married Rocky in 1992. “He was going to Bible study Mondays and Tuesday, then we took the kids to church on Wednesday.

“Thursday he did the jail ministry in Muleshoe. Then on Friday we did church in Muleshoe. We would sit up and read our Bibles at night and discuss what we were reading.”

Suzahn said the lessons always applied to their lives, and Rocky applied them in raising daughter Rockell and son Ruger. She recalled one day when Ruger got his four-wheeler stuck in the mud. When Rocky got behind and pushed the four-wheeler out, Ruger hit the gas and covered his dad in mud. Rockell laughed, and got stuck so she could do the same to her dad. Later, Rocky got on a four-wheeler and did the same to his son and daughter.

“You couldn’t even tell where the four-wheeler stopped and the kid began,” she said with a laugh. “They were just covered (in mud).”

He always made time for his family, but Suzahn said he’d drop everything to help anybody in need. Stories ranged from dropping off portable toilets in the aftermath of the March tornado to his final act of kindness — coming to fix a house on a Sunday so somebody could have a better Christmas.

When he died in the accident, those around him viewed it as bittersweet, because they miss him but have no doubts as to where he is.

“He went from doing something he loved, helping somebody on a Sunday, to being face-to-face with God,” Pitcock said.

Though they miss their friend, his example lives on.

“People see me, and they’re thinking, ‘She should be sad,’” Suzahn said. “I am, but you didn’t have bad days around him, because you got picked on to no end. He was upbeat, and he was going to make sure you were.”

Norris concurred.

“I was really sad at first,” he said. “Now, I’m just so thankful I had that quality of friend for all of those years.”

In Tribute is a regular feature. To suggest an honoree, contact CNJ Managing Editor Rick White at 763-6991 or by e-mail: