by Franklin Houston
It is with great sadness that we bid farewell to David Houston, who passed away on May 18, just 17 days short of his 97th birthday. David was born on June 4, 1921, in Wichita Falls, Texas, and grew up in Texas and New Mexico during the Great Depression. He left college to serve as an Army medic in WWII.
During an Allied landing in Italy in 1943, a huge storm caused a number of soldiers to be thrown into the water. David dove in and rescued several of them, resulting in his being awarded the Soldier’s Medal, the highest honor a soldier could receive for an act of valor in a non-combat situation.
After the war, David enrolled at UT in Austin, earned an engineering degree, built a house, raised a family, and had a lengthy career as a professional engineer with the City of Austin and the State of Texas. He became involved with folk dancing around 1956.
David was one of the signers of the 1962 AIFD Constitution, served as AIFD President in 1963, served as TIFD Vice-President in 1966, was instrumental in helping build the Texas Camp wood floor in his garage, and served on the Board of Directors for the International Folk Culture Center in San Antonio. He also introduced folk dancing to his sons, Franklin and Ronald, both of whom have maintained their involvement in a variety of ways up through the present time.
Despite a grueling battle with West Nile virus and living with Parkinson’s Disease, David never lost his enthusiasm for getting things done. He will always be remembered for his stories, his sense of humor, and his love of family.
A memorial service for David will be held on Saturday, June 30, at 2:30 PM at Saint Matthews Episcopal Church, 8134 Mesa Drive, in Austin.