Richard Glenn Houston, 87, of Waldwick, passed away on December 17, 2021. Born in Jamaica…Queens, not the Caribbean Island, he declared at 7 years old that he wanted to be called “Dick,” and it stuck for the rest of his life…in multiple contexts. He attended Brooklyn Technical High School and Lehigh University. He was just destined to be an engineer. He worked in the construction industry for 57 years and was responsible for hospitals, colleges, bridges, roads, nuclear power plants, skyscrapers, venues at the World’s Fair, as well as churches and mausoleums. No human being could possibly have known more about concrete, steel and surveying. He possessed uncanny abilities and talents with numbers. He was a TI-31, before they invented a TI-31. He loved to work. He loved challenges. He was a leader of men.
While at Lehigh, he could not, however, engineer his way around a certain Irene Agnes Houston, nee Bednar, his wife of 65 years. Yes, he married a townie from “down at the bottom of the hill” in Bethlehem. As it turned out, Dick was even better at being a husband and a father. He worked tirelessly and selflessly, traveling around the globe, building all over the place, because of his devotion and commitment to providing the best for his family, even at the expense of his own health. Sadly, he lost his beloved Irene in March of this year.
Perhaps his children may have been his greatest joy, but his Grandchildren would disagree. Pop-Pop/Gramps was the doting grandfather of 5 wonderful grandchildren, who could not get enough of the big softy.
Don’t misunderstand, Dick loved fun, as well. The “pike whisperer of Tupper Lake, NY” was a fishing savant. His fishing exploits, mostly true, are Houston lore. No one could fish like Dick. He’d always get up before the sun, despite the protestations of his boys, to make certain the maximum amount of time was spent on the water. He never tired while fishing. Dick and Irene were Disney fiends with over 15 separate trips to Disney World. Mickey and Minnie knew Dick and Irene by their first names. Oh, how they loved Disney. Dick and Irene also traveled the globe and enjoyed every minute of their lives together.
Somehow, for over 25 years, he worked a side gig for the Archdiocese of New York, where he provided engineering expertise for cemetery layout, organization and facility construction. He was extremely proud of this work. And finally, no description of this man’s life would do justice without mentioning his personal fulfillment in his role as a teacher, raconteur and mentor. He willingly passed so much of his expertise and wisdom to his family, but also to dozens, maybe even hundreds of others, who graciously understood the value. The world is better as a result of his influence.
Lastly, Dick was an accomplished B.S. artist. He acquired and retained unparalleled amounts of facts, figures and experiences, which he could recall at any moment, and what he could not recall nor possess, he faked. He prevaricated complete nonsense with such conviction it was impossible for the unsuspecting or inexperienced to discern the true from the baloney.
Dick is survived his children, Glenn, Kevin and Matthew, daughters-in-law Sara and Paula, along with those lovely Grandchildren, Chris, Steven, Carey, Dylan and Mallory. Viewing will occur at the Feeney Funeral Home, Ridgewood, NJ, 9am -11am on Tuesday, December 21, with burial to follow immediately thereafter at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, NY, right next to George Herman Ruth. As with Irene before him, flowers are fine, but the family thinks you should just raise a fine single malt scotch; have a cigar and reflect about a wonderful man’s life. In other words, just be a Dick.
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