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In Memoriam: 1969 OBA President Winfrey Houston

1926 - 2015

Funeral services:  Family will greet friends from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, March 26 at Strode Funeral Home. Service will be held 2 p.m. Friday, March 27, at the First Presbyterian Church of Stillwater with Rev. Leah Hrachovec officiating followed by a celebration of Winfrey's life in a reception.

Winfrey David Houston, 88, of Stillwater, died on Monday, March 23. A man many people considered to be Mr. Stillwater lived his life with passion and optimism. He was born June 1, 1926, in Stillwater to Oscar David Houston and Lillian Holbrook Houston. He attended Lincoln Elementary School and graduated from Stillwater High School in 1944. He graduated from Oklahoma A&M with a degree in history and political science and completed his law degree from OU in 1950. In 1948, on a blind date, he met a Woodward girl, Barbara Lowrey. They married on Nov. 26, 1950, had four children and were loving partners and role models both at home and in the Stillwater community until her death in 2007. An only child, Mr. Houston was raised by a single mother and grandmother from the age of 18 months after the death of his father. Lillian, the sole bread winner during the depression, found a job as deputy court clerk at the Payne County Courthouse, where she worked for 40 years. These women and his Perkins family were instrumental in his character development. And, being raised in and around the courthouse lead him ultimately to his career choice as an attorney.

When he was a senior in high school, he volunteered for service in the Army Air Corps. While completing training in Seattle as a B-29 flight engineer in May 1945, the war ended. He shipped out in November and served in the Allied-Occupation of Germany for 10 months. For many years he was Stillwater School Board attorney and Perkins city attorney while maintaining an active private practice. He also served as president of many legal organizations,including the Payne County Bar Association, Oklahoma Bar Association and Oklahoma Bar Foundation. He served as a member of the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association, and in 1987, received the OBA’s "Outstanding Lawyer Award in Practice More Than 35 Years." In 2003, Mr. Houston was recognized as one of only a few practicing attorneys who have been members of the Oklahoma bar for 50 years. In 2007, the OBA honored him with the Joe Stamper Distinguished Service Award. Besides his legal work, he was a member of Rotary and in the past was president of the Evening Lions Club.

He has served on the Mayor's Human Relations Committee, Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Stillwater Medical Center Board, Public Housing Board, Downtown Neighborhood Planning Team, Community Center Board, Main Street Board and Main Street's Design and Economic Restructuring Committee. He also has served Stillwater as a city commissioner. In 1996, he was inducted into the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame. In 2004, he received the Oklahoma Heritage Association "Distinguished Service Award for the Preservation of State and Local History." Mr. Houston has also served on the Park and Event Recreation Board as a Cultural Committee member, as a member of the Stillwater High School Alumni Board, a member of the Policy Advisory Committee of the comprehensive Planning Group and the Neighborhood Alliance Board. He also served on the Planning Committee for the 1967 addition to the Payne County Court House. The Roxie Webber Elderly Housing Center and Stillwater Medical Center were both planned and built during his tenure on those boards.

He was preceded in death by his parents and wife. He is survived by daughter Ann Houston and Billy McCollom, Stillwater; son David Houston and wife Denise, Oklahoma City; daughter Nancy Beckstrom and husband Jim, Stillwater, and daughter Mary Massie and husband Phil, Tampa, FL. He is also survived by nine grandchildren: Amanda Jenkins Driskel and husband Derek, Stillwater; Tyler Jenkins and wife Mariko, Denver, CO; Jessica Jenkins Tanton and husband Jason, Leawood, KS; Daron Houston and wife Kasi, Houston, TX; Matt Houston and wife Lindsay, Edmond; David Beckstrom, Denver, CO; Jarrod Beckstrom and wife Samantha, Mustang, OK; Erik Massie, Olathe, KS; Kyle Massie, Tampa, FL; and 14 great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to First Presbyterian Church, 524 S. Duncan, Stillwater, OK 74074 or Stillwater Community Foundation to the Winfrey Houston Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 425,Stillwater, OK 74076 or www.cfok.org/donate.

1969 OBA President Winfrey Houston

1969 OBA President Winfrey Houston