HORTON – Frances Ella Horton, known by everyone as “Frankie” was born to Frank and Ella Nuttall on June 28th of 1944. Her first home was on the Benson Place, in the middle of what we now call the West Block. When Frankie was still an infant her father made a land swap with the government and the family relocated to what is referred to as the White Mud. Later Frank built a new home in the middle of what is now Frank Nuttall Jr.’s buffalo field. Frankie loved her time at home but a lot of her childhood was spent boarding at Merryflat so she could attend school.
Frankie spoke of her juvenile years with fondness. Playing all summer with Bonnie and Francis Wood. Family picnics with the Graham and Laura Parsonage family. Riding a cow in Gordie Faulkner’s arena west of Fort Walsh. Visiting Ann and Lloyd Hart at the Fort, having tea with Mary and Gladys LeBarge and sleeping over at Lloyd and Honey’s. She thought the sun rose and set wherever Lloyd Montour was and still had photo’s of Lloyd in a quiet corner of her house. She spoke with reverence of Commissioner Wood and valued his saddle that she displayed in her home.
In her late teens Frankie took a hairdressing course at Lethbridge but she was better suited for ranching although she did fill in as a clerk at Hutchings and Sharp Western store working with Hannah Hoffman. In 1966 Frankie married Gary Horton and moved to the Horton Ranch north east of Maple Creek. Together they had Aaron, Garth and Patty. Frankie and Gary worked hard on their ranch and expanded it over the years.
Frankie’s true grit rose to the top after Gary’s tragic death. Many people in the same boat would have sold out and moved on, but Frankie was determined to keep the dream alive. She kept on ranching and expanded her holdings several times and today both her sons are ranchers as Frankie had envisioned. When Aaron and Garth had grown to where she was comfortable leaving them in charge she returned to her western store days when her and Patty opened Hill Country Clothing. After Patty moved on to the next phase of her life Frankie ran the business like a seasoned entrepreneur. Frankie was the most humble person in the world but without even trying she commanded so much respect that the back end of that store was like a guidance counselor’s office in a school as numerous young women sought Frankie’s advice and encouragement. Her niece Joan and her husband Smoky Eremenko now own Hill Country.
Frankie’s middle years also brought the joy of grandchildren into her life. She and her second husband Tom spent many glorious summers camped not far from her first home in the West Block with her oldest grandchildren Chad, Brett and Kayleigh. As a child Frankie had nearly drowned in Battle Creek and recalled her brother Howard pulling her out by her braids. She was never very comfortable in the water but grandchildren have a way of changing grandparents and she learned to paddle in the creek with the best of them. After Tom moved, Frankie generously included him for Christmas and family birthdays.
In later years Frankie divided her ranch and sold out to the boys and eventually sold her store. After a couple of years of quiet retirement at home she moved into Maple Creek where everyone enjoyed her coffee rounds. A year and a half ago she moved to a home in Swift Current where she received excellent treatment until she passed away on June 22nd, 2016.
Frankie was predeceased by her parents Frank and Ella Nuttall, her husband Gary Horton, sister Laura McKenzie, brothers Howard and Dick Nuttall and daughter Patty Braithwaite. She is survived by and remembered forever by son Aaron (Lori) and family, son Garth (Renee) and family, son-in-law James Braithwaite and family, sister-in-laws Joyce Nuttall and Dona Leslie, step-daughter Joeli Reardon and her father Tom along with everyone who’s life she touched.
A Memorial Tea was held on Saturday, June 25, 2016 at the Royal Canadian Legion in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. Interment took place at the Maple Creek Cemetery with Lynn Needham officiating. In her memory donations may be made to the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan. Binkley’s Funeral Service Maple Creek & Leader in charge of arrangements, 306-662-2292. http://www.binkleysfuneralservice.com