Francis Coy Houts
June 5, 1931 - February 24, 2013
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Francis Coy Houts, 81, of Wilmington, NC, and formerly of Raymondville, TX and Fairfax, VA, died unexpectedly Sunday, February 24, 2013 at New Hanover Regional Medical Center.
He was born June 5, 1931 in McAllen, Texas and reared in the Rio Grand Valley of Texas. Until the age of 10, he lived on a farm (cows, pigs, chickens, cotton, watermelons, etc.) near the very small village of Hargill, Texas. You missed it if you blinked your eyes as you drove through the area. He had an older brother who did most of the chores. Then the family moved to the “city”. His father went from being a farmer (this carried him through the depression of the 1930s) and he became a chef (a cook in Texas). His father had gone broke in the restaurant business in Oklahoma in 1930. He began waiting tables when not yet a teenager and continued this as a means to pay for college.
In 1950, he graduated from high school at Raymondville, Texas (President Junior class, ran track, played in marching and concert bands). From 1950 to 1954, he attended Texas A & I College in Kingsville, Texas (took ROTC, participated in Drill Team and ROTC band). (The King Ranch, located at Kingsville, covers several counties and is the largest privately owned ranch under one fence in the United States.) The college is now part of the Texas A&M University system. He entered the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant in September 1954. In his 26 year Army career, he was stationed in Germany twice, Panama Canal Zone, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan. Within the United States, he was stationed at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Fort Knox, Kentucky, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey (twice), Fort Hood, Texas, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and Fort Meyer, D.C. In 1973, he was assigned as an instructor at the Industrial College of the Armed forces (ICAF) in Washington, D.C. Temporary travel took him to Canada, England, Spain, Portugal, Egypt, and Iran. During his early years in the Army, he was assigned to a tactical Signal Unit supporting Army, Corps and Division organizations. He worked on two R & D programs: development of the Tactical Operations System (TOS) which was field tested in Germany. In Panama, they were testing listening devices which would be dropped into the jungles of Vietnam to track North Vietnamese troops and convoys.
In Japan, he met Yasuko Miyoshi and married her in June 1961. They were married for more than 44 years when she died at the age of 80 in July 2005. When World War II started, she was 16. She stayed in Tokyo to care for the house and her father, a civilian employee of the Imperial Navy. The rest of the family had moved to a location in the Japanese Alps for the duration of the war. Each month she had to take food and money to her Mother. She took a train to a station 2 hours north of Tokyo, then a bus to the end of the line, then walked 1 ˝ hours to the farm where her family was living. Prior to the end of the war, Yasuko had never had a job. Her first job was with the American Red Cross at Segamo Prison where Tojo and other high-ranking Japanese war criminals were held.
Retirement from the Army came in 1980, and he took employment with Computer Sciences (CSC) in Herndon, Virginia. He traveled to Venezuela to work on a vessel tracking system for the nationalized oil companies. He retired from CSC in 1996. He became an American Red Cross volunteer at the DeWitt Community Hospital, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. He was responsible for recruiting, processing/training, and assignment of volunteers. He completed his volunteer work at DeWitt in January 2008 and moved to Plantation Village Retirement Community, Wilmington, NC in February.
Surviving are several nieces and nephews, Sherry Taylor, Julie Ann Gideon, Teri Lynn Houts, and Kendel Wayne Houts.
A memorial service will be held at 11 AM Saturday, March 2, 2013 at Pine Valley Church of Christ with Rev. Michael E. Hipes officiating.
There will be a reception for family and friends at 1 PM Saturday at Plantation Village.
Memorials may be made to Pancreatic Cancer Research.