William Edward HoustonJuly 24, 1923 ~ January 3, 2018 (age 94)
William Edward “Bill” Houston, age 94, went to be with our Lord on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 at Valley View Senior Living in Harlingen, Texas. All who knew him recognized him by his friendly nature and “Iwo Jima Survivor” hat that he faithfully wore.
He was born July 24, 1923 in Lamesa, TX to Ira Edward and Mamie Houston. After marrying Billie Marian Gillespie in 1942, he was called to the military. He served for 4 years in the 5th Marine Division, 28th Marine Regiment. He trained at Camp Pendleton, served in Hawaii, Iwo Jima and the occupation of Japan. He was a heavy equipment operator while on the islands and saw the famous flag raised through the scope of his 37mm gun at Iwo Jima. His family was so grateful he survived and came home in 1946.
Bill’s Christian faith was very important to him. He served several churches as deacon, Sunday School teacher, choir member and committees. He worked hard all his life. After the Marines, he began working in the oil field industry. In the late 1950’s he moved the family to Rio Grande City where he worked for Medina Electric. He volunteered as Captain of the Rio Grande City Fire Department. He always provided for his family, often working more than one job. The family moved back to Mission in the early 1960’s and he worked for Dowell Oil
Company. After struggling with cancer for many years, Billie Marian died in 1970. Bill made sure that all 3 of his children, Sharon, Eddie and Jan, graduated from college. He relocated to rural East Texas and married Rachel Geneva Harris Houston. They were married from 1975-2006.
Along with his oil career with Dowell, he began ranching and loved working with his cattle. Bill loved entertaining folks with stories, jokes and excellent food (biscuits and gravy). He was always up for an adventure to travel, visiting family and seeing this beautiful country he loved so much.
The discipline and patriotism he learned in the Marines never left him. “Once a Marine, always a Marine!”
He is preceded in death by his parents, his sister Marie Estes, his brother Robert W. Houston, Sr., Billie Marian Houston and Rachel Geneva
Bill is survived by his three children, Sharon Ann Hayes of San Saba, TX, Eddie Houston, of Houston, TX, and Jan Dillard and her husband Tommy Dillard of San Benito, TX. He has been a proud grandfather of 4 grandchildren, Ben Hayes and wife Fanchon of Austin, TX, Joy Hayes-Gates and husband Brian Gates of Goldthwaite, TX, John Dillard of Austin, TX and Robert Dillard of San Benito, TX. He was blessed with three great-grandchildren, Valerie Hayes, Merry Hayes-Gates and Ronan Hayes-Gates. Bill also loved Geneva’s two sons, Gary and Douglas Harris and their children and grandchildren.
Visitation will be at 10:00 a.m. with services following at 11:00 a.m. this Friday, January 5, 2018 at San Benito Funeral Home, and he will be
interred in a family plot in Mission, TX.
Memorials may be made to Baptist Temple Church, 1201 N. Reagan, San Benito, TX 78586.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to San Benito Funeral Home, 1400 W. Hwy 77, San Benito, Texas 78586.