Houston Lee


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Houston Lee Hartley

Sep 09 1921 - Aug 01 2012

Houston (Tex) Hartley passed from this earth at the age of 90 in Tacoma Washington after a long and well-lived life. He leaves behind his two children, Don Hartley (Madron Hartley) of Richardson, Texas and Denise Hartley (Traci Drake) of Tacoma, WA, along with his dear companion and friend Guida Williams of Sun City West, AZ. He was preceded in death by his wife of 38 years, Ila (Jeter) Hartley (2007).  

Born in a small farming community north of Dallas, Texas he was raised amid a large extended family. When he was seven he began picking cotton to pay for his clothes. He spent much of his young life on his grandparent’s homestead where his parents cared for his mother’s aging parents. One of his fondest memories was coming home from school to his grandfather who was now blind and sat most of the day under a tree greeting anyone who passed by. “Pa Day” had raised horses and other livestock to sell to the local farmers and had a loving outgoing way about him. It was from these early experiences that Houston learned to love people. This fascination with even a passing stranger never left him. He left his community to serve in the Navy during WWII as a Sea Bee (“We Build We Fight”). He was stationed in Okinawa and was there when the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan. He attended Harvard, though he never mentioned it. He always referred to himself as a “shopkeeper”. In 1954 he began a 28-year career with Nordstrom, eventually serving as a member of the board of directors and as senior vice-president of the company. Though retired since 1981 he remained close to many of the people he had worked with. Many of his retired years were spent with friends in the Arizona sun and the trees of northern Idaho.    

He was a gentle father and a kind man, slow to anger, realistic about a person’s flaws yet quick to see the good in people. Never a pretentious man, Houston defined himself by his relationships more than his accomplishments. He cared more for people than ideas, more for honesty than accolade. He taught us much.      

A funeral service will be held 10:00 a.m., Saturday, August 11, 2012 at Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow in Allen, Texas. Interment is to follow at Stoney Point Cemetery in Melissa, Texas. The family will receive friends during a visitation on Friday evening from 6:00 p.m. -8:00 p.m. at the funeral home.

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