Wallace “Wally” Houston received his angel wings peacefully on September 15th, 2021. He was born July 14th, 1929 to Mattie Hudsbeth Houston and Walter Rudolph Houston in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. He was their only child. His family weathered the economic hardships of the great depression with hard work and community minded values. They built their own home in town from local fieldstone that they quarried themselves. His mother ran a small neighborhood grocery store that was attached to their home, one of the few businesses in town that extended credit to families struggling in the hard times.
Wally’s father passed away suddenly when he only 11 years old, leaving he and his mother to carry on as WWII approached. As young boy, Wally delivered groceries on his bicycle, going up and down those Osage hills in Sand Springs. At the age of 14, he rebuilt an old motorcycle, and grocery deliveries got easier. At the age of 15, he “may have fibbed” about his year of birth and obtained a driver’s license. He then moved up to a home built boxcar with an small engine, which he called his first car. This began his love affair with the American automobiles, a passion that he pursued his entire life.
He received his first draft letter at the age of 17 to report to Ft. Bliss, TX, (apparently the draft was based on DMV records). He was stationed at Ft. Bliss for nine months, then discharged honorably as WWII came to an end. He returned home to Sand Springs and worked in the local cotton mill and also as an auto mechanic. A good friend came by one day and reportedly convinced him to sign up for the inactive Army Reserves, telling him, “There will never be another war.” A few months later, Wally received yet another letter from Uncle Sam, with orders to report again to Ft. Bliss. He was deployed to Korea, where he served as Army Corporeal in the early years of the Korean Occupation, holding the 38th Parallel.
He completed his service in Korea and was again discharged honorably. He returned home to Sand Springs, OK and went to work for American Airlines. Through a mutual friend he met the love of his life, Elva Louise Houston, who became his wife. They cherished each other and their 52 years of matrimony.
Wally and Louise started a family and moved to Bixby, Oklahoma, where they built their family home. Wally continued his career as a draftsman and as a facility maintenance engineer with AA. He retired in 1992, and he and Louise enjoyed several years of traveling and going to activities and parades with their classic car clubs. He restored classic Fords, Hudsons and Chevys in his man-cave garage that he referred to simply as “the barn.”
Wally embodied the best values of the depression era generation. He believed in humor as way to get through hard times. His wit and many “Wally-isms” often lifted the spirits of those around him, including his loving caregivers in the latter years of his life. He kept people smiling. He believed in hard work and befriending your neighbors, helping out people in need, sharing what you have and staying humble. He did not want much, was slow to complain and he was grateful for the small things; such as a simple meal of bacon and eggs, a glass of ice tea, lawn chair visits with friends on the patio and KVOO playing on the radio. He was devoted to his family, his community and his country. He was a solid citizen. In the 1980’s, he served as a City Councilman for the Town of Bixby and he was also active on the Bixby Planning Commission, where he worked with others on issues of flood control and drainage. Additionally, Wally was a member of the Masonic Lodge of Sand Springs and he was also a Shriner and a member of the Scottish Rite. In his retirement he volunteered to transport children receiving medical treatment and their families to the Shrine Hospital in Louisiana.
Wally loved classic country and western music, and he was a lifelong fan of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. He shared many memories of hearing his favorite performer live at Tulsa’s famous Cain’s Ballroom. He smiled peacefully when he heard “Take me back to Tulsa” on his way to heaven, and his family is comforted knowing that he is no doubt now dancing to Tulsa Time with Louise.
He is survived by his children, son Roy Michael Houston of Bixby and daughter Lisa Houston and son in-law Robert Wilson of Albuquerque, NM, and his grandsons Elias Wilson, Tuscon, AZ and Keenan Wilson, Norman, Oklahoma. He will be remembered by many friends, neighbors and caregivers whose lives he touched with his gentleness and humor.
A memorial service and celebration of his long life will be held Monday, October 4, 2021 in the RiverCrest Chapel at 10:30 am. He will be interred at Woodland Park Cemetery in Sand Springs, Oklahoma following the service. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, or the One Tree Planted organization.
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