West Columbia, SC (06/29/2023) - It is with a heavy heart that the City of West Columbia announces the passing of former Mayor Bobby E. Horton, a dedicated public servant and esteemed leader. Mayor Horton, aged 87, passed away on Thursday, June 29, 2023, leaving behind a remarkable legacy of service and a lasting impact in the City of West Columbia.
Mayor Bobby Horton served as the Mayor of the City of West Columbia from 2004-2011 and 2015-2019 and on City Council from 1977-1989. During his 24 years of service to the City of West Columbia, he exemplified unwavering commitment, a tireless work ethic, and an unyielding dedication to the betterment of West Columbia.
Mayor Horton moved to West Columbia in 1965. He worked for SCANA for over 37 years. Mayor Horton worked for SCE&G from 1956 until 1982 and then for SCANA until he retired from the governmental affairs department in 1993. During his tenure, he developed the ESOP stock purchase program for SCE&G employees which received approval from the Internal Revenue Service, he managed the SCE&G state sales tax audits, developed, and chaired the Political Action Committee for SCANA, and received the Chairman's award from SCANA's Chief Executive Officer, Lawrence Gressette.
Mayor Horton was an integral part of building the Lake Murray Water Treatment Facility in the late 1980s, which made West Columbia the largest wholesale water provider in Lexington County. This expansion was necessary for the continued economic growth of the County. He was a charter member of the West Columbia Beautification Foundation, which has raised over two hundred thousand dollars for beautification projects throughout the City. He was instrumental in developing Carraway Park into a park for children of all abilities in West Columbia as well as the West Columbia Interactive Art Park and Meeting Street Artisan Market. He also advocated for the extension of the Riverwalk Park from the Gervais Street bridge to Moffatt Street in West Columbia. The West Columbia Riverwalk is vital to the City of West Columbia and brings in thousands of tourists each year.
Mayor Horton spearheaded numerous initiatives aimed at enhancing infrastructure, improving public services, and fostering economic prosperity. His unwavering advocacy for smart growth and sustainable practices has helped position West Columbia as a model city in our region.
Mayor Horton volunteered his time with various boards and organizations. He served as State Chairman for the SC Jaycee Organization, chairman of the Central Midlands Economic Development Council, member of the Board of Directors of the Central Midlands Council of Governments, member of the Board of Directors of The River Alliance, member of the US Conference of Mayors in 2009, on the steering committee for the National League of Cities, and as chairman of the Deacons for First Baptist Church, West Columbia. He also served as a volunteer for Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission's "Meals on Wheels” program and volunteered with West Columbia Little League Baseball.
Mayor Horton's legacy extends far beyond his achievements. He was a compassionate and caring individual who genuinely cared about the well-being of the residents of West Columbia and those around him. His genuine empathy and commitment to serving others earned him the respect and admiration of everyone who had the privilege of working with him.
Mayor Horton's presence will be deeply missed, not only within the City of West Columbia but throughout the region. His exceptional leadership, integrity, and passion for serving the public leaves a permanent mark on our community, and his influence will continue to resonate for generations to come.
Mayor Tem Miles said, “I am incredibly grateful for all that Bobby Horton has done for our city during his long service and for me personally. I know of no better public servant and no better man than Mayor Bobby. I am so glad he is now back home with Mrs. Kay.“
City Administrator Brian Carter stated, “The City of West Columbia expresses its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Mayor Bobby Horton during this difficult time. Mayor Horton was a dear friend and mentor. He enabled city employees to accomplish lasting improvements for West Columbia. His support for city employees and city leadership will continue to inspire us as we serve West Columbia.”