Charles J. “Chuck” Houston, Jr., 94, of Wellesley, and formerly, a longtime Auburn resident, passed away peacefully with his loving family by his side, on Thursday, November 18, 2021 at Waterstone of Wellesley. He was predeceased by his high school sweetheart and beloved wife of 53 years, Mary “Jean” (Halloran) Houston, in 2004.
He leaves his devoted daughters, Mary E. Quinn and her husband Robert, of Quincy, and Kathleen M. Gannon and her husband John, of Auburn; his loving sons, Charles J. Houston, III, of Nashua, NH, John P. Houston and his wife Katherine Read, of Waban, Richard F. Houston and his wife Anne Hynes, of Harwich, Paul V. Houston and his wife Tracy, of Auburn, and Michael J. Houston and his wife Maude, of Cambridge; fourteen wonderful grandchildren: Kathryn Miller and her husband Edward, Elizabeth Quinn and her husband Jonathan Link, Ellen Quinn and her husband Zachary O’Hara, Charles J. Houston, IV, Shannon Houston and her husband James Wenkert, Abigail Portu and her husband Matthew, Peter Houston and his wife Megan Clayton, Megan Houston and her fiancé Ben Graff, Samuel Houston-Read, Rebecca Houston-Read, Zachary Houston-Read, John Gannon, Mary Gannon, and Thomas Gannon; six adoring great-grandchildren, John Miller, Henry Wenkert, Caroline Wenkert, Robert O’Hara, Nora Link, and Mary Link; his brother, William Houston and his wife Sandra; his sisters-in-law, Mary Ann Houston, of Spencer, and Joan Houston, of West Tisbury; as well as many nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends, including his breakfast buddies at The Broadway and Culpepper’s.
Chuck was also predeceased by his siblings, Robert Houston and his late wife, Beatrice, of Auburn, Benjamin Houston, of Spencer, and Frederick Houston, of West Tisbury; and their parents, Charles J. Houston, Sr. and Ann (Waterhouse) Houston.
Born, raised, and educated in Worcester, Chuck was the oldest of five sons. After battling back from a spinal injury caused by a hunting accident at the age of 14, he graduated in 1946 from South High School, where he was a star pitcher on the baseball team for three seasons. He was named, several times, to Inter-High all-star teams during his remarkable pitching career. Chuck graduated in 1949 with a degree in business, and continued his pitching prowess on the college’s baseball team.
An accomplished businessman, Chuck served in leadership positions for over fifty years in his family’s company, Industrial Suppliers of Worcester, co-founded by his father on Summer Street in 1946. Chuck, along with his four brothers and many talented and devoted staff, operated the company successfully for decades, expanding the business to include locations in Nashua and Manchester, NH.
In 1990, his son Chuck Houston III assumed ownership and operated it with Paul, and many key long-term staff members. The company expanded throughout New England before it was sold in 1998 to a publicly traded firm.
A member of the Rotary Club of Worcester for over fifty years, Chuck attended weekly meetings into his 90’s. He was made a Paul Harris Fellow for his contributions to the club, and he always wore his pin proudly on his lapel. He was the embodiment of the motto of the Rotary Club: “Service before self.”
A resident of Auburn, MA for more than 65 years, Chuck often cited the benefits his family had enjoyed from living in the town. In his later years, he visited frequently with friends and neighbors who were frail or homebound, and enjoyed attending his grandchildren’s school and sports activities.
Chuck was a founding member and long-time parishioner of North American Martyrs Church in Auburn.
An avid Red Sox fan and season ticket holder, Chuck enjoyed watching games from the family seats. One highlight was the 1999 All- Star game, when Ted Williams made an appearance.
In 1992, he was made an honorary graduate of St. John’s High School, Shrewsbury, from which all five of his sons graduated.
Chuck was a life-long learner who read two newspapers daily and followed current events with great interest. He loved to meet new people, and was known for his warmth, charm, kindness, generosity, and gentle wit.
In retirement, he and his wife Jean enjoyed trips to Scotland, Ireland, and Naples, FL. Chuck loved the musicians of the Great American Songbook and the music of Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Erroll Garner, and Nat King Cole.
A devoted father who never missed a graduation, wedding, birthday, or family event of any kind, he was greatly loved and admired by his seven children, fourteen grandchildren, and six great grandchildren. He will be remembered with love and missed by all who knew him.
The family would like to recognize the excellent care and kindness of the staff at Waterstone at Wellesley Assisted Living facility and West River Hospice of Needham. In addition, the family wishes to acknowledge with gratitude the wonderful and kind care provided by Ms. Regina Pinckney and Ms. Mary Margaret Nansubuga, who were his devoted guardian angels in the last years of his life.
Funeral services and interment will be private at the family’s request. Donations in memory of Chuck may be made to the food pantry at North American Martyrs Church, Kateri’s Kitchen, at 8 Wyoma Drive, Auburn, 01501, or to the scholarship program of the Worcester Rotary Club, Rotary Education Fund of Worcester, P.O. Box 3413, Worcester, MA, 01613.
The Britton-Wallace Funeral Home is honored to be assisting with arrangements.