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Houston true giver in life

Butler had to say goodbye to a good one this past week.

A great one, actually.

John Houston, a longtime supporter of youth athletics, including Butler basketball, died Monday at age 84.

My personal memories of John are fond ones. For years, he and Jack Baccanti were instrumental in putting the Butler girls basketball Christmas Tournament together. When I covered that event, they asked me to help them choose the all-tournament team.

They took pride in honoring the right players. Those selected players received awards and gifts — they were made to feel special. That’s what John Houston did.

He made people feel special.

John asked me to be a guest speaker at one of the Butler Lions Club luncheons a number of years ago. I always appreciated the fact he thought enough of me to think I could entertain an audience.

John gave me a nice commemorative plaque after the luncheon. He made me feel special.

Of course.

That’s the extent of my dealings with John, other than the occasional hello when our paths would cross at Butler sporting events.

But this man has done a lot of things I never knew he was even a part of.

Dess Schnur, one of his best friends and himself a longtime volunteer in the Butler sports community, referred to John Houston as “a giver. He was never a taker. He spent a lifetime giving to others.”

For instance, John Houston worked for 34 years at Butler Memorial Hospital and implemented the first computer system there.

Never knew that.

He taught Sunday School for a long time, assisted the Blind Association, volunteered for Butler Meals on Wheels, even served on the Board of Directors for that organization.

Never knew any of that.

He helped to upgrade the East Butler Sports Complex and was very active with the Butler Basketball Boosters.

I actually knew that.

He started the first Butler fast-pitch softball organization and contributed to the sport as a coach and umpire.

Never knew that.

John’s obituary states that, after serving in the U.S. Army, he “spent the rest of his life serving, supporting, and improving the lives of others.”

People like John Houston don’t come along all that often anymore.

This was a man who cared about family, youths and his community. The order of those doesn’t matter. He took care of all of them.

Rest in peace, John Houston.

The work you did while you were here will benefit people for years to come.

That is a mark of greatness.

John Enrietto is sports editor of the Butler Eagle

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