Charlie Horton, a colorful and charming character who was the fourth treasurer in the history of the Athens Touchdown Club, left a big void at the head table of the men’s grill at the Athens Country Club and other places around the town he frequented. for years.
He worked tirelessly in his basement office every day, but when it was “quiet time,” he enjoyed a beer at the club with friends followed by a leisurely dinner at home with his wife, Anne. It was a heartwarming routine for a man who was thoroughly enjoying life in the classic city and its spiritual centerpiece – the Georgia Bulldogs.
An accountant by trade, he pretty much specialized in giving his friends the benefit of his absurd and light-hearted jokes, seasoned with harmless and repressed insults. Beneath his cynical personality, which was usually on display, was a kind-hearted man who reached out to any friend in need. And never ask for anything in return.
A native of Pine Mountain, he grew up in this working-class neighborhood in the western Georgia section of Piedmont, which was originally known as Chipley. The town officially became Pine Mountain when he was SAE in Georgia celebrating the end of the drought against Georgia Tech in 1957.
While he was serious about getting a business school degree, now the Terry College of Business, he found time to enjoy socializing in the famous “Shack” behind the house. of the fraternity, where his engaging conversational style got him going. on the light side as he entertained everyone with his humor and banter.
At first he was a devoted aficionado of all things Bulldog and was a passionate and ardent supporter of trainer Wallace Butts. He had an “inside” connection to the Bulldogs in that his future brother-in-law, Willie Fowler, was a lineman for the team coached by Butts.
After graduating, Horton began his professional career in Atlanta with Shell Corporation, but returned to Athens where he eventually established his own consulting firm, Horton Business Services. One of his first clients was Lou McCullough, who was once a trusted assistant coach, working for Woody Hayes at Ohio State. When McCullough became conference commissioner, he chose to make Athens his home and asked Horton to provide accounting services for the Trans America conference. McCullough was a seasoned storyteller who enjoyed Horton’s arresting personality.
Charlie became the treasurer of the Athens Touchdown Club and also of the Georgian chapter of the National Football Foundation and the College Hall of Fame, the largest chapter in the country for the past decade. He has held key leadership positions in both organizations in addition to providing financial services.
Playing a key advisory role with both of these organizations, allied with the Georgia Bulldogs, Charlie enjoyed emotional support based on a great affection for the alma mater as much as the provision of professional service. Charlie was an avid UGA aficionado.
Starting from scratch halfway through his career, he built a successful business by honoring basic business concepts, emphasizing hard work, punctuality, discipline and good judgment. He valued his customers and made friends with those he did business with. He was reliable and efficient.
James L. LaBoon, Sr., a brother in the Georgia fraternity, remembered Charlie as one of the most popular members of the chapter. “From the day he came to campus, everyone has enjoyed being around him,” LaBoon says. “We all loved him from the start. He was a serious student but he was great fun when the party started. He really loved the Bulldogs and was a loyal UGA fan, one of the best.
He was a member of a popular tailgate club operating less than a hundred yards from the entrance to Sanford Stadium. He often followed the team on out-of-town trips, his favorite being in Lexington for the Kentucky game. He and Anne were fascinated by the bluegrass landscape, horse farms and Keeneland Racecourse.
Charlie “Big Chilli” Horton was an unforgettable and lovable character who loved Dawgs with UGA’s top alumni. He will be graphically missed by a large cross-section of the Athens community.