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Neal Houston

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Neal Houston Obituary
Neal J. Houston

BENNINGTON Neal J. Houston, 87, of Arlington, VT., a long-time aide to former United States Senator Robert T. Stafford, died Aug. 16. Neal was Stafford's chief of staff for 30 years while Stafford served as Governor, Congressman and Senator. Neal also served Vermont as Secretary of Civil and Military Affairs under Governor Joseph B. Johnson and was the State's first budget director. Born in Barre, Neal graduated from Spaulding High School. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps and then attended the University of Vermont. There he was sports editor of the Vermont Cynic newspaper, played varsity basketball, and met his future wife, Marilyn Mills, of West Hartford, Conn. The couple's five daughters and one son were all born in Vermont. Prior to entering government service, Neal was a newspaper reporter, editor, and columnist at the Rutland Herald, Vermont Journal, later the Burlington Free Press. Through the years in Washington, 1961-88, Senator Stafford and Neal developed a strong partnership. Upon Neal's retirement the New York Times noted it as extraordinary. Neal's tenure as Chief of Staff was one of the longest served with a single member of the U.S. Congress. Neal and Marilyn moved back to Vermont in 1990 settling in Arlington. He served on the boards of the Vermont Achievement Center in Rutland, the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury, and the Bennington Museum. In addition, he was active in local civic organizations, Arlington town government and the Federated Church of East Arlington. He leaves his wife, Marilyn and his six children and their spouses: Deborah Houston (Lee) of New Braintree, MA; Rebecca Moore (Charles) of Arlington, VT; Laura Stewart (Robert) of Napa, CA; Neal J. Houston, Jr. (Christine) of Rutland, VT; Virginia Lima (Joseph) of Scituate, MA; and Alison Ryan (Peter) of West Rupert, VT. Also surviving are eleven grandchildren, one sister, Harriet Mulcahy of Barre, and several nieces and nephews. FUNERAL NOTICE: Family and friends are invited to attend a memorial service at the Federated Church of East Arlington on Sunday Aug. 24 at 1p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the National or the in care of the HANSON WALBRIDGE SHEA ARLINGTON CHAPEL, PO Box 528, Arlington VT 05250 To send condolences, visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com.



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Published in Bennington Banner on Aug. 19, 2014
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