Clifford Norman Houk
January 8, 1933 - November 3, 2014
Clifford Norman Houk died peacefully at his home on November 3, 2014 in League City, at the age of 81. He was born January 8, 1933 in Youngstown, Ohio and graduated from Austintown Fitch High School. in 1950. He obtained an engineering degree from The Ohio State University, where he was a member of Theta Xi Fraternity.
After college, he was an officer in the Air Force, starting a life-long love of aviation. In 1959 he took a sales job in Springfield, Illinois and met the love of his life, Kathryn Regina ("Kay") Castor. They married on February 27, 1960 and lived in Springfield, Illinois until their permanent move to Texas in 1972.
His initial sales job was with Sangamo Electric in Springfield. In 1962 he worked as an executive at Castor's Grocery Stores in Springfield, Illinois (owned by William E. Castor, his father in law). In May 1972 after the stores were sold he took a risk and moved his young family to Houston, Texas. He worked to develop his talent for operations and warehousing at Joske's, Sanger Harris and Star Furniture. In 1977 he went to work for Wilson Office Furniture and was instrumental in their rapid expansion during the boom times of Houston. He ran their operation and the warehouse. In 1986 he purchased National Office Furniture in San Antonio, Texas and became an entrepreneur as a dealer of Steelcase Office Furniture. During that time he began his fight with cancer, and he sold National in 1991. He then did some consulting work with various Houston office furniture companies. Finally, he enjoyed work as a tax accountant until 2008, when he retired.
Cliff was a family man through and through. His many friends often noted that he lived for his family. He supported his children in swimming, cheerleading, drill team, baseball, softball, football and ice hockey. A life-long sailor, he won E Scow regattas, became Commodore of Island Bay Yacht Club in Springfield, and was a current member of Lakewood Yacht Club. A patient teacher, he was a great youth hockey coach and influential Jr. Sailing instructor. He enjoyed pro hockey in Houston and college football, attending many football games at his alma mater, Ohio State, and at his children's alma maters, the UT Longhorns and Baylor Bears. He enjoyed sailing, flying, traveling, reading and playing bridge. And he enjoyed his many friends who always lit up his life.
Cliff is preceded in death by Kay, his loving wife of 45 years, by his parents, Gustavus Adolphus Houk and Ethyl Adelaide Hoyt Houk, by his brother Dr. Raymond Houk and cousin Armond Houk. Cliff is survived by his sister, Joanne Houk Kusky, and her husband Edward; his daughters Heather Houk, Kathryn (Honey) Beggins and her husband John, and Heidi Perrotta and her husband Robert; his son Cliff Houk, Jr.; his grandchildren Molly Perrotta, Jenny Perrotta and Jack Beggins; his nephews David Houk, Jeff Houk, Dan Houk, Mark Kusky, and Peter Kusky; his nieces Karen Houk-Knauf, Deborah Berni, Elizabeth Bourneuf, and Sarah Pupillo; 16 grand nephews and grand nieces, and his cousin Sandra Wiseman Turner.
The family wishes to extend their gratitude to all the relatives and friends for their prayers and support.
A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, November 7, 2014 at St. Bernadette Catholic Church, 15500 El Camino Real, Houston, Texas 77062 at 1:00 PM, with a Celebration of Life gathering afterwards at Lakewood Yacht Club, 2425 NASA Parkway, Seabrook, Texas 77586.
Any desired donations can be made to the Jr. Sailing program via Bay Access c/o program at Lakewood Yacht Club, 2425 NASA Parkway, Seabrook, Texas 77586.
Clifford was a member of the marching band in 1950. He played trombonium.