Visitation Hours for Shaina Horton Set for Thursday
The well-loved Ocean City resident died of cancer at age 26.
Friends and family are mourning the loss of a 26-year-old mother who died Saturday of a rare form of cancer, leaving behind a 21-month-old daughter and her "lifelong love," Cliff Palermo.
Shaina Horton made her mark on Ocean City as an Accent Gallery employee, a volunteer with Community Art Projects, a resident of the 900 block of Asbury Avenue and a "just amazing" person.
Friends and family may pay their respects 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 19) at the George H. Wimberg Funeral Home at 1707 New Road in Linwood. Burial will be private.
As per Horton's wishes , the family requests, in lieu of flowers, that donations be made on behalf of Shaina Horton to: Cooper Foundation Medical Oncology, c/o Cooper Hospital, One Cooper Plaza, Camden, NJ 08103 or online.
Horton's daughter, Zoe, was born in 2010 in perfect health, but soon after doctors discovered that a form of uterine cancer, choriocarcinoma, had been spreading inside Horton during her pregnancy.
Much of Zoe's young life was spent in the hospital with her mother, and in recent months, Shaina, Zoe and Cliff lived in a home in Somers Point that accommodated her medical needs.
Friends and colleagues remember a person "who just made you feel good by being in her presence," according to Accent Gallery co-director Rody O'Rourke.
Horton worked as an assistant director at Accent Gallery for a year and a half, while she lived on Asbury Avenue above the Butterfly Boutique, O'Rourke said. At the time, Palermo operated the Grind Garage on Asbury Avenue.
"She meant the world to us," O'Rourke said. "She's beautiful inside and out."
O'Rourke said Palermo has "been amazing" and that Zoe is "so well-attended-to and so well-loved."
Jennifer Boyce, owner of Asbury Avenue's Glazed Over Pottery and Mosaics, recalls working with Horton using a $75,000 grant to convert part of the Atlantic City Free Public Library into a "Teen Space."
"She was just amazing," Boyce said. "Every step along the way, she incorporated the kids. Shaina was instrumental in creating an amazing space that is super popular with the teens in Atlantic City. I love her dearly and will miss her always."
Horton was born and raised Somers Point before moving to Ocean City. She is a graduate of Mainland Regional High School (2003) and Philadelphia University (2007) with a degree in Interior Design and Architectural Studies.
According to her obituary, she was a cheerleader and gymnast as a child and a member of the cheerleading and diving teams at Mainland Regional.