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Raymond Joseph Houx
Raymond (Rusty) Joseph Houx, 93, our greatly loved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle, and cousin, died peacefully at his home in King City on Thursday, December 5, 2013, of natural causes, surrounded by his loving family and friends.
The second oldest of six children, Rusty was born in Hanford on November 15, 1920, to George Edgar Houx and Lucinda Pauline Alviso-Houx. In 1927, he moved with his family to King City and attended elementary school then high school, where he lettered in varsity football all four years. Rusty then attended Hartnell Junior College in Salinas, majoring in biology. His two brothers and three sisters also attended Hartnell J.C.
In 1942, at the outbreak of WWll, Rusty enlisted in the Army Air Corp, and at Homestead Air Force Base, Florida, he oversaw the repair of aircraft and bombers which had limped back across the Atlantic from flying missions in Europe. His brothers, Robert (Bob) Houx and Cecil Houx, served in the Army during WWll in Alaska and the European front, respectively.
In 1943, while still on active duty, he married a beautiful young woman from Los Angeles, Alice June Barnett, at St. Mark's Episcopal Chapel in Monterey. Before the war ended, their son, Raymond Craig Houx, was born. After the war they lived briefly in L.A., where Rusty pursued his studies at L.A. City College. In 1945, they moved to King City, where Rusty worked for the U.S. Postal Service as a letter carrier for 30 years, and was one of the first two mailmen of King City. Walking 22 miles a day, he carried mail to three generations of King City families. During that time, daughter Raye Ann Houx (1947), and son David Baird Houx (1955) were born.
Rusty was a lifelong, talented artist sketching and painting wildlife, and preparing beautiful animal pelts from the mountains surrounding the lovely Salinas Valley. Rusty was an avid sportsman, hunting dear with his father and brothers in the coastal mountains of California, the Sierra Nevadas, and in Colorado and Utah for trophy heads; fishing for "pan fry" native trout in the redwood canyon creeks of Big Sur; and ocean fishing for rock fish off the coastal rocks of Pacific Valley. He was adept at hunting all manner of game birds. All the game he hunted was shared as food, and he made clothing and moccasins from animal skins. At age 80, he camped by himself in remote Modoc County, and hunted mule deer. His last deer hunting forays were with bow and arrows, in honor of Native Americans he sketched as a youngster. Because of his Native American heritage, he was made an honorary elder by the local Jolon Indians.
In high school, Rusty was a natural, charismatic performer on stage. In the late 40's and early 50's, he performed with many pals in Lions Club productions that were the talk of the town. In the early 80's, he helped establish The Stage Hands, a theater group that thrives to this day. His wife June, daughter Raye Ann, and Cindi Brown Reeve are founding members of this group that has elevated the cultural imprint of King City for more than 30 years.
Rusty and June had an open door policy with their children's friends throughout grammar school, high school, and college. His lively sense of humor was a living treasure. He was an inspiring role model to his entire family. Friends and family visited right up until Rusty passed away.
In 1967, Rusty and Bert Kerns founded the Monterey County Agricultural Rural Life Museum (MCARLM) in King City. He was active in preservation efforts to save historical sites along the El Camino Real in Jolon. Cherishing the pioneer heritage of southern Monterey County he photographed "old California" landscapes, displaying his work in regional art shows. Rusty was a lively story teller of likable characters he knew, and recalled countless fun filled pranks he pulled as a youngster; for example, he and his best friend, A.G. Andrus dragged the last remaining outhouse in King City two blocks to the middle of Broadway and set it on fire. After the fire department doused it, they set fire to it again. He created vivid bedtime stories about a family of three delightful mice that enthralled Rusty's children night after night. Rusty was a fine writer, having nearly completed a novel of the fabled Mexican bandido, Juaquin Murrieta.
Rusty was predeceased by his father and mother; brother, Robert (Bob) Houx; sisters, Laverne Houx-Harness and Pauline Houx-Hall.
Rusty is survived by his dear wife of 70 years, Alice June Houx, 90, of King City; sister, Betty Houx-Culver; brother, Cecil (Alice) Houx; brother-in-law, Robert (Bobby) Hall; sister-in-law, Alice (Cecil) Houx; son, Raymond Craig (Kay) Houx of Topanga; daughter, Raye Ann (Lincoln) Houx-Hatch of King City; and son, David Baird (Luci) Houx, of Hamilton Square, New Jersey; grandsons, Orion Quill, Josh Hooton, Shone Houx, Guy Hooton, Tom Hooton; granddaughter, Bradi Houx; and great-grandchildren, Gatlin Hooton, Robert Jordan, Teriq Adam, Savannah Chavarria, Faith Quill, Sierra Hooton, Lexi Chavarria, Claire Hooton, Hope Quill, and Ava Hooton.
Rusty was interred December 5, 2013, at the King City Cemetery in the Houx family plot during a private family ceremony.
His "Celebration of Life" will be held Saturday, February 1, 2014, from 1 to 5 p.m., at St. Mark's Parish Hall, King City (corner of 3rd and Bassett St.) Please come and join family and friends in celebrating the life and legacy of this wonderful, dynamic man who gave so generously of his love and wisdom.
In place of flowers, small donations are welcome to: St. Mark's Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 847, King City, CA 93930. It was Rusty's wish to build wheelchair-accessible restrooms in the Church Parish Hall, which serves as a venue for many public and private functions.
Published in The Salinas Californian from Dec. 24, 2013 to Jan. 24, 2014