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Blog: Master Sifu Tony Horton Loses The Final Battle

On the passing of Master Sifu Tony Horton.

On Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 Master Sifu lost his final battle against the pernicious disease, cancer.

It is a rare experience in our lives to meet someone we can admire, trust, and love as a friend and teacher. Such a blessing entered my son's and my life when we met *Sifu. But, we are not the only family who has experienced such a blessing who are now feeling the pain of broken hearts, losing someone who excelled in every aspect of "friend and teacher."

Sifu was a long time student of Quan Yin Kung Fu and a scientist-engineer who worked on the Space Shuttle from its beginning. While many of us marveled as Endeavor was retiring, one of her creators was facing his end, as well. His son told me he was able to watch Endeavor's final flight and the family was also sharing the Mars landing with him.

The service for Sifu will take place next Friday, October 12 at 1p.m., at St. Anthony's Parish, 2110 N. San Antonio, Upland. There will also be a gathering in his honor the following day at the studio. Details forthcoming.

For anyone who would like to write a special message to Sifu's family or share a memory of him; you will find a book at the studio where you can do so. The intention is to present it to his family after the service next week.

*Sifu: Traditionally, in Chinese martial arts, the term was used as a familial term and sign of respect as in the general usage. The term takes on a more intimate context when a student becomes a formal student or disciple of the teacher. (http://www.reference.com/browse/sifu)

Earlier Patch stories:

http://monrovia.patch.com/articles/quan-yin-kung-fu-owner-is-a-teacher-and-a-fighter

http://monrovia.patch.com/articles/tai-chi-instructor-brings-new-perspective-on-martial-arts-to-monrovia

http://monrovia.patch.com/articles/tai-chi-instructor-brings-new-perspective-on-martial-arts-to-monrovia

A little more about Quan Yin Kun Fu:

http://quanyinkungfu.com/Quan-Yin_Kung-Fu.html

P.S.  Anyone wishing to leave a message on Patch please note I will print the Blog out and include it in the book. Thank you.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Sean Garrett October 06, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Sifu was an amazing man, I being one of his students will miss him dearly, he taught me so much in so little time that its unimaginable to think that he is gone. Why is it that these things happen to good people, they should be rewarded not taken away for being so influential and kindhearted. Sifu Tony Horton inspired the hearts of many including all of his students, his wisdom will always live on in the hearts of all he taught and aided in there time of need or darkest hours. There will be no one who can replace him, and none will match him either. To his family i have this to say, He not only taught martial arts but he also taught how to be confident in ones self, how to trust not only yourself but to trust those you care about, he taught love and compassion, strength and wisdom, kindness and tranquiltiy. We all love you sifu, "White crane spreads it's wings, dragon meets tiger, dragon goes back into the den".
kirk allen October 07, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Sifu did a Lot of great thing for a Lot of Good people.. The Man was a True Friend and Mentor, and someone I very much looked up to.. My love and admiration will ALWAYS remain, as He left an indelible impression on my heart and my life. I will Always Remember Master Tony Horton, my Sifu..
Holly Hale October 07, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Thank you for your comments, Kirk and Sean. I know Sifu loved you, too. Although, I never studied under him he was my Sifu, too.......forever to be missed :(
Geo October 07, 2012 at 04:41 AM
Sad news, Ms. Hale.....
Greg Hanson October 07, 2012 at 09:21 AM
I can’t begin to express the amount of pain that I am currently enduring as I type. The world has lost an amazing man. Sifu Tony Horton was the type of person that every one aspired to resemble. The relationship I shared with him, like the relationship he shared with many others, was so beyond anything that I have ever experienced. It’s not just the confidence that he taught me, nor the ability to have strength, both inside and outside. It was not just the lessons he taught, nor the wisdom he shared with myself, fellow students, friends and family members. It was something indescribable. He was a beautifully strong figure in my life, responsible for so much more than my knowledge of self-defense. He has given me words of advice that I cherish greatly. He has promoted goodness in all places. He had shown light when it could not be found. He admired all people, and found joy through sacrifice. He was caring, optimistic, encouraging, supportive, and much more. I had never doubted him in the time I knew him, from my years in elementary school, to our most recent visit. I sleep tonight not mourning his loss, but celebrating the time I was privileged enough to have shared with him. Sifu, you will not be forgotten. "To find our way, we must have a place where the search is in process. In order to search we must have a place to start." ~Sifu Tony Horton If this could please be written in the book for me, I would appreciate it, as I will not be in town until this Friday.
Holly Hale October 07, 2012 at 03:19 PM
I'll see to it, Greg. I'll save that quote of his, too. Thank you <3
Greg Hanson October 07, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Thank you much!
Margeaux Rox October 07, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Very sad, Geo. Sounds like some people are going to miss him.
Suzan October 08, 2012 at 05:19 PM
It was my good fortune to know Tony as a friend for the past 20+ years. Not only did I work with him at JPL, but when my son was small he took some classes with Tony. I cannot begin to say how much I will miss him. His heart and his smile were as big as the moon. Rest in peace my friend . . . until we meet again.
Holly Hale October 08, 2012 at 05:53 PM
I hope you will be with us Friday as we celebrate his life and comfort his family. You were blessed to know him that long. Yesterday, I had a memory of us taking our puppy to meet Sifu last year. He absolutely loved her to bits. When my son got his first car he took Sifu for a ride and Sifu was as proud for my son as if it were his own. That's the kind of love Sifu exuded to all of us. As the Spacex was launching yesterday, my son (who is an astronomy student) kept showing me the videos. All I could do was stand there with tears streaming down my face because I know how Tony would have loved watching. When my son came downstairs after organizing his notebooks for school; the one for Astronomy class has a tribute to Sifu on it. This is not just a loss for us; his loved ones, students and friends, but a loss for society. He was our hero. I hope to meet you soon, Suzan. Hugs coming your way.......
Elizabeth Tapia October 08, 2012 at 07:41 PM
A great human being left this earth on Wednesday, October 3rd. Tony Horton was a wonderful person...compassionate, kind, and a great friend to have. I had the pleasure of working with him the past 3 years. We shared tea bags and philosophies...A gentle spirit has entered into another realm...We will surely miss him in this one.... With great respect...Elizabeth Tapia
Gayle M. Montgomery October 08, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Sorry for the loss of your friend and your son's, Holly. Just caught this.
Holly Hale October 08, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Indeed, Elizabeth. I think there will be a huge crowd at the service on Friday. His wife will be touched by all our love.......
Holly Hale October 08, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Thank you, Gayle. I've been crying since he went into Hospice because I new the transition was impending but he passed on my son's 19th birthday and I haven't stopped crying. As you know, it was less than three months ago another dear friend succumbed to breast cancer. :( Ms. Hale is a sad girl.
Elsa Martinez October 08, 2012 at 09:52 PM
I have known Tony for many, many years during my time with the JPL/DSN. We initially met in the Mission Planning days over in Building 507. He was always the happy and calm one of the group. I had the great fortune to really get to know him when I would come over and work in the test lab (DTF-21) on almost a daily basis. He was always accommodating, and always had a big smile on his face. During the time when The Sopranos was what everyone was watching, we would joke and talk in our Soprano accents. I would hold my hand up, and hold the tips of 3 fingers together, and greet him with "Ay, its-sa TO'nee Pep-pah-roni!" rolling my r's big time. He would hold both his hands up, holding the tips of 3 fingers together on each hand, and respond "Pep-pah-roni Pep-pah-roni" and just smile...and we would continue our conversations in our wanna-be Soprano accents. From then on, our greetings were always the same - in the Soprano theme. We would talk about life, about what is important and what isn't as important, about family, about our goals outside of work, about self defense, and definitely about our cabins in the mountains. He always had such a tranquil insight into things. I learned so much from him. Especially about being at peace with oneself. Tony was such an incredible person and will definitely be missed. Until we meet again Tony Pepperoni. Much love and respect to you and your family. Your friend, - Elsa Martinez
Gayle M. Montgomery October 08, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Holly, the best bandage I know of for a broken heart is to do something for the positive in memory of the lost soul. The grieving process can be a long one, but it's good that the process has begun. You won't forget them, you will take the best memories with you and the lessons they taught you to use with others. Sending a hug (don't worry, it doesn't have cooties--smile).
Holly Hale October 09, 2012 at 02:06 AM
That is a wonderful story, Elsa. I hope to meet you, Friday. Thank you for sharing.
Holly Hale October 09, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Thanks Gayle, I made the book of memories my project honoring Sifu. It's beautiful mottled red leather looking with gold embossed design. He would have loved it because he loved red. I'm sure by the time I pick it up Thurs. night it will be crammed with love. Everything posted here is going in it, too along with the blogs written about him. Just to give you a snapshot of him, as I was writing in the book I realized the lyrics to You Raise Me Up fit him perfectly. Every, single word. So it's in there with some other poems, too. I look forward to reading the love after our first Messiah rehearsal on Thurs. and then presenting it to him wife on Friday.
Gayle M. Montgomery October 09, 2012 at 04:40 AM
That sounds lovely, Holly, as are things made with love. It's probably very cathartic as well.
Elsa Martinez October 09, 2012 at 02:28 PM
I will be there Friday Holly and look forward to meeting you.
Margeaux Rox October 10, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Miss Hale, I offered to help by printing and gluing, I hope that wasn't overstepping. I thought twice and deleted it.....I'm sorry.
Holly Hale October 10, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Thank you but I can handle it. I don't know you and I don't think you knew him so it's OK. Very kind offer. Be well.
Holly Hale October 11, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Dear Monrovians, The special book of memories will be at the Studio until Saturday's Memorial there. Tomorrow is the service in Upland. ~~H.
Albert October 12, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Senor Horton! This is my signature way that I would address my dear friend and colleague; this is typically used in the Hispanic community to address people with great respect and love. I loved this man like a big brother, and respect him for all that he has accomplished. Tony and I worked together for almost a decade in this Spacecraft testing business. He was our test lead engineer and supervisor of the department. We have been through many interesting places and situations together throughout the years. Working long hours and making sacrifices in order to meet schedules, we spent many hours on planes, airports, and cars commuting to the spacecraft facilities. We tested many spacecraft together all of the country and some of them here locally at our test facility in California. Some of the missions were from JPL, APL, ESA, JAXA, IDIRO and many universities around the world. Some of the missions that we tested include Messenger, New Horizons, Stereo, Goes, Planet-C, Selene, MRO, DAWN, CHANDRAYAAN, KEPLER, SIRTF, JUNO, Phoenix, LCROSS, LRO, DEEP IMPACT, Rosetta, Grail, and MSL. (MSL is the latest mission that landed the rover Curiosity on Mars.) (cont.) Al Ibarra
AlbertAlibaba18 Ibarra October 12, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Senor Horton! This is my signature way that I would address my dear friend and colleague; this is typically used in the Hispanic community to address people with great respect and love. I loved this man like a big brother, and respect him for all that he has accomplished. Tony and I worked together for almost a decade in this Spacecraft testing business. He was our test lead engineer and supervisor of the department. We have been through many interesting places and situations together throughout the years. Working long hours and making sacrifices in order to meet schedules, we spent many hours on planes, airports, and cars commuting to the spacecraft facilities. We tested many spacecraft together all of the country and some of them here locally at our test facility in California. Some of the missions were from JPL, APL, ESA, JAXA, IDIRO and many universities around the world. Some of the missions that we tested include Messenger, New Horizons, Stereo, Goes, Planet-C, Selene, MRO, DAWN, CHANDRAYAAN, KEPLER, SIRTF, JUNO, Phoenix, LCROSS, LRO, DEEP IMPACT, Rosetta, Grail, and MSL. (MSL is the latest mission that landed the rover Curiosity on Mars.) (cont.) Al Ibarra
Holly Hale October 12, 2012 at 04:40 PM
I will add your entry to the book. Is there more, Albert? I hope to meet you at the service today.
Gayle M. Montgomery October 12, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Holly, good luck at the Memorial. I know it will be a day of sorrow, and a day of uplifting. I hope your burden is not too heavy and your spirits are buoyed by the good things that will come out of tomorrow's service.
AlbertAlibaba18 Ibarra October 13, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Tony was always a positive figure for all of us and has set the bar for humanity to follow. I will miss our daily talks; daily walks for a cup of coffee or lunch, and most of all, your presence in our test department. I don’t know any soul that knew you that didn’t like you; you are admired and loved by many friends and colleagues all over the country. I will miss you my friend! Until we meet again my brother, “Always Al” Al Ibarra
Kevin Sullivan October 22, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Sifu, Thank you for your profound dedication to us. You sacrificed so much to create a sanctuary of teaching where we learned the art of Kung Fu San Soo. It is through this sanctuary you bestowed your grace, character, and honor. Sifu, you kept your promise to all of us and to yourself. You passed on the ancient art of Kung Fu San Soo. You brought out the best in everyone around you through your example of respect and dignity. Thank you for your caring and sincere words in class. You wanted all of us to understand our potential. You once said, “Everything you have been through in life has made you who you are. It gives you belief in yourself. That self confidence is yours. Do not let anyone take that from you. It is yours to keep.” You asked us to keep our promises. I have not forgotten my promises. Sifu, it has been my honor. Your teachings will not be forgotten. Faithfully, Kevin Sullivan
Brent Johnson October 26, 2012 at 03:22 PM
I still can hardly believe Sifu is gone. I trained with him and was oh so privileged to receive my black belt in Kung Fu San Soo (and 1st - 3rd degrees) from him. Thank you, Lord, for the time he was with us. Amen.

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