January 20, 1952 - January 26, 2014
Candice House was a force of nature. She built businesses, directed the marketing efforts for scores of companies and non-profits, and threw her energies behind one good cause after another. She raised two amazing sons. Her love and laughter and fierce vigilance were like oil to her family's moving parts. She lived barely 62 years, succumbing on January 26, 2014 to a cancer diagnosed in 2008 that ultimately made its way to her brain.
Born in Mexico, Missouri on January 20, 1952, Candice was the second of Charles and Virginia Dunn's two daughters. Her father, Chuck, now deceased, and mother Virginia, still energetic and bright-eyed at 93, introduced their daughters to the love of family and power of ideas. By the age of nineteen-smart, beautiful, and poised-Candice joined the public relations department of the Dallas Chaparrals Professional Basketball team (precursor to the San Antonio Spurs) and, as she gained experience, worked as Assistant Sports Information Director at Southern Methodist University and PR Director for the Dallas Tornado of the North American Soccer League. Also during this time-in the fall of '73 at SMU-Candy met Randy. They would become inseparable for forty years.
In 1975, Candice and Randy moved to Austin, where Candice opened her first advertising agency and Randy worked as a writer and producer at GSD&M. They married on November 15, 1980 and welcomed into the world their first son, Joshua, in 1981, and their second son, Zachary, in 1983.
In 1985, Candice and Randy joined forces to open U.S. Creative, an agency that in the years to follow grew to 30-plus employees and had a reputation well beyond the borders of Texas. Candice, as President, directed a variety of national accounts, including Simon Properties (the largest developer of shopping centers in the country) and the senior-living division of Hyatt Corporation. In 1994, the couple closed their firm to spend more time with their sons, whom Candice worried were growing up without their parents.
For the next 7 years, Candice and Randy watched their sons grow in the classroom and on the basketball court. They also started a catalogue company, consulted with companies and non-profit organizations, and produced campaigns to elect Lake Travis school board members and win approval for school bond proposals. After Josh and Zach left for college-Stanford and Tulane, respectively-Candice and Randy opened ThinkStreet; a multi-disciplinary advertising and marketing firm known for its innovative problem solving, award-winning creative work, and Friday afternoon margarita parties.
At ThinkStreet, Candice lead srategic efforts on the Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) Traffic Safety programs-including the Teen "Click It or Ticket" seat belt use campaign and multiple statewide "don't drink and drive" initiatives, including "Know When to Pass." She organized the first statewide conference to bring to light the dangers of cell phone use and texting while driving and called the campaign "Talk.Text.Crash." She guided the giant German medical company Aesculap's efforts to introduce computer-aided orthopedic surgery across the U.S. and helped turn into reality the family's retail store concept, House+Earth, which specializes in eco-friendly, non-toxic, sustainable building and design products for the home.
For Candice, running a business was more than a means to make money; it was a platform for helping people. Over the years, she played integral roles in fund-raising efforts for Safe Place, St. David's Hospital, Peoples Community Clinic, Umlauf Sculpture Garden, and the Austin Museum of Art, where she directed and chaired the museum's first-ever Art Ball. Candice sat on councils and boards of directors, most recently, as a director on the U.S. Green Building Council-Central Texas chapter. In 2009, the Austin Business Journal named her one of Austin's Most Powerful Women.
Candice was smart, beautiful, wise, passionate, and funny. She made light of her illness and chose, instead, to live large and without regret. She protected her family, cared deeply for her friends, and worked behind the scenes-without fanfare-to support the causes she believed in. We will miss her profoundly and always, but will be sustained hearing her laughter forever in our ears.
Instead of flowers, please consider making a donation to one of her two favorite charities: Women for Women International (https://give.womenforwomen.org) and Hospice Austin (http://www.hospiceaustin.org/get-involved/donate/). We will celebrate Candice's remarkable life in late March.
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Feb. 11 to Feb. 17, 2014