July 24, 2022
In 1995, we learned that the founders of Camp Champions, Horton and Carol Ann Nesrsta, were thinking about selling the camp. They had founded the camp in 1967 with 5-time baseball all-star Pete Runnels, UT football legend Darrell Royal and Hondo Crouch (the creator of Luckenbach, TX).
In 1995, Camp Champions = Horton and Carol Ann. They ran the camp with love, integrity and passion. We felt honored and intimidated to following in their footsteps. We knew that thousands of people loved the camp and they were a huge part of the reason why.
We learned that Horton passed away yesterday at age 91.
I always enjoyed Horton. He had an easy laugh and was a talented story-teller.
[One story was about Darrell Royal, who had grown up in Oklahoma and attended OU as an undergrad. During the first summer of camp (1967), parents were invited to a picnic that included chicken wings. After the parents had left, some wings were left over. Darrell and his wife started to surreptitiously put wings in a large bag/purse that she had brought with her. This struck Horton as both ridiculous and hilarious - the coach of the Texas Longhorns was using a handbag to gather leftovers. As he and Hondo watched, Hondo just shook his head, “Once an Okie, always an Okie”.]
A Rice graduate, he was also very insightful, but he would never lord that over you. People discovered that Horton was both smart and wise - he did not need to tell you.
He and Carol Ann were also ideal mentors for us. They provided advice when we asked, but did not volunteer advice if we did not. Like a wise parent, they knew we would need to learn by doing. They were also unfailingly supportive of our successes. When camp did well, they were giddy, supportive and proud.
Their grandchildren all came after they left and we expect to see some of their great grandchildren soon.
So join me in remembering a person whose life impacted thousands. We will miss you Horton!
PS Here is a link to his obituary. I think it is lovely that his family shared the words of the Torchlighter Song to honor him!