He was a minister and a musician, a father and a husband. He taught his daughters to dance on the tops of his feet and ate raw cookie dough from the refrigerator late at night.But on campus, he will be best remembered for his 22 years of ministry with the University Baptist Student Union.After a 25-year-long battle with Parkison's disease, Rev. Frank Horton died June 18. He would have been 81 years old last week.He was remembered Sunday by a gathering of more than 500 of the people he called friends. His work with the BSU was commemorated with the dedication of the Frank Horton Chapel on the corner of Highland Road and Chimes Street.Horton was an inspiration and a friend for hundreds of students from the '60s through '80s. The people who knew him best were often the students he saw on a day-to-day basis at the BSU.Weaver McCracken met Horton in 1967 while he was a student. For McCracken, Horton helped make a lonely campus a home.McCracken said he found a "special warmness" in Horton the first time they met, and he tried to interact with the reverend daily.McCracken said the daily meetings were never long — he usually interrupted Horton in his office during administrative work. But Horton always took time to speak to him."Frank helped to make the BSU a place where I really mattered," McCracken said. "He always had a way of sharing his heart with you."He told the assembly at University Baptist Church that Horton had provided constant affirmation with the phrase "I appreciate you.""Through the years, those words ‘I appreciate you' have been burned into my mind," McCracken said. "For me to say those words is the warmest affirmation I can give. I learned that from my friend Frank."That special warmness was there to greet Gail Stephens when she arrived on campus in the '70s from her home in Melbourne, Australia.Stephens said her parents had moved to Australia before she was born and made her promise she would visit the BSU and meet Horton when they sent her back to Louisiana.She said when she first entered the BSU, the facility was empty and quiet, except for a smiling Horton standing outside his office. They sat down with a cup of coffee and spoke for hours."Frank taught me about greatness," Stephens said. "He had the amazing gift of God to engage and inspire students."Stephens said she still thinks of Horton as a role model and hero. She said she tries to pass on the wisdom he gave her to her students.Mike Young came to the University and first visited the BSU in 1981.Horton had performed his brother's wedding ceremony a few years before, and his mother had also made him promise to visit the BSU while at school.For much of his freshman year, Young said he felt alone in a crowd and unsure where he was going. But that changed the day he went to the BSU."When I stepped inside the doors, Frank was standing outside his office. He looked at me and said, ‘Mike Young! I've been waiting for you to get here,'" Young said.After his first year, Young said he'd fallen out of good academic standing with the school and was forced to wait out a year. But the day he came back, he said Horton was there to welcome him."Frank gave us a glimpse of what the kingdom of God is like," Young said. "Ultimately, I think the world would look a whole lot better if it looked like Frank's BSU. That's the kingdom of God — that's what it looks like."

 

 

 

- - - -Contact Adam Duvernay at aduvernay@lsureveille.com

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