John K Houston

Longtime Big Bear resident, John K Houston, passed away on June 6, 2020 in Apple Valley, California after what he himself said was “a wonderful life.”

Mr. Houston was born August 5, 1932 in San Gabriel, California one of  5 children of Harry and Ester Houston, (aka Houstoer), both Danish immigrants.

John grew up in Altadena, California where he enjoyed hiking in the San Gabriel mountains. He attended Altadena and Pasadena public schools and graduated from Pasadena City College in 1952 with a certificate in Construction. 

That same year he was drafted into the United States Army where he served as a Supplies Specialist at Camp Hanford, Washington and married his first wife, the late Donalee Houston, nee Foss of Altadena, California. The Army was never able to provide proper army boots at the time due to his shoe size being a 15.

John and Dona moved to Big Bear in 1959 where they raised five children on the “Circle H Ranch.” The ranch was a frequent Big Bear Elementary school field trip destination in the 1970’s during events like horse foaling or just to see the menagerie of animals including a barn full of chinchillas.

Together John and Dona built John K Houston, General Contractor into a revered name in the building community of Big Bear Lake. It was not uncommon to hear people refer to a home as “Houston-built” even thirty years after his retirement. All three of the Houston’s sons, Tom, Ron and Jim, have continued on to become building contractors. John gave equal opportunity guidance and support to his daughters, Linda Nixon, retired City of Hemet Public Works Department Environmental Services Manager and Jeannie Antes, successful Big Bear Lake business owner of local women’s contemporary clothing store, O KOO RAN. 

Houston belonged to and served on boards for the Bear Valley Sportsman’s Club, The Vaquero’s Riding Club, Ducks Unlimited, Rotary of Big Bear Valley, Big Bear Sheriff’s Posse and the Bear Valley Contractor’s Association.

He was a life-long outdoorsman that enjoyed horseback riding, trap shooting, camping, fishing and hunting in the environs of the Big Bear Valley as well as extensive travel of the western United States, his favorite being Southern Utah, Idaho and Montana. He even obtained a pilot’s license in the 1990’s.

After Dona’s death in 1987, John married Norma Nolan in 1996 and moved to Apple Valley where they spent 19 years together enjoying his retirement passion of playing golf, trips with their RV club to trap shooting events and golf destinations and spending time with both the Houston and Nolan families.

John is survived by five children, Linda Nixon (Nick), Tom Houston (Debbie), Jeannie Antes (Craig), Ron Houston, Jim Houston, 14 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. Three step-children, Patrick Nolan (Carrie), Christy Nolan, Diane Fadem (Steve), four step-grandchildren and two step-great grandchildren.

No services will be held.

He will always be remembered as an honest, hard-working man of his word.

Rest easy, Big John.

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