Veteran J. Roy Houston filled retirement with civic service |

Veteran J. Roy Houston filled retirement with civic service

J. Roy Houston had many interests, but none involved staying put.

“He couldn’t sit still,” said his daughter, Kathy Heider of Murrysville. “He was always on the go.”

Whether he was working, spending time with his family or pets, or shopping, Mr. Houston kept moving, she said. Even after retiring at 57 from the marketing division of Peoples Gas, he found he needed to do more.

He remodeled his home from “top to bottom,” then started working for the Westmoreland County Economic Development Corp., his daughter said. “He decided he didn’t want to be retired anymore.”

Mr. Houston of Murrysville died Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010, in his home. He was 82.

He was born in 1928 in Murrysville, the son of the late Clair and Mary Minnis Houston.

Mr. Houston served in the Marine Corps during World War II. He was a chairman and board member of the Westmoreland County Conservation District, a past president of the Central Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce and a former executive director of the Westmoreland County Economic Development Corp.

Mr. Houston was active in the Murrysville Volunteer Fire Company, American Legion Post No. 711 and the White Valley AMVETS Post No. 85. He was a member of the Murrysville Alliance Church.

“He was a jokester and loved his family,” Heider said. “He enjoyed every day.”

She said her father didn’t let a heart attack at 36, or other health problems, stop him. “He had all these health issues but kept going,” Heider said.

Greg Phillips, conservation district manager and chief executive officer, described Mr. Houston as a “people person.” Mr. Houston served on the conservation board for 41 years, 37 as chairman.

“He was able instantly to get along with people almost universally,” Phillips said.

He called Mr. Houston “one of my best friends” and described him as a mentor.

Mr. Houston, who insisted that employees be professional, valued dedicated service and praised workers for their efforts, Phillips said.

In addition to his daughter Kathy, Mr. Houston is survived by a daughter, Traci Halleck of Murrysville; sister, Mary Lou Houston of Murrysville; a companion, Phyllis Kennedy; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Madelyn, in 1991.

Visitation is from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today in Hart Funeral Home in Murrysville.

A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the funeral home with Pastor Dan Lawrence officiating. Interment will follow in Murrysville Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to Action for Animals, P.O. Box 814, Latrobe, PA 15650 or the Murrysville Volunteer Fire Company.

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