American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Charles Snead Houston, 1913-2009

  • In Memoriam
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2010

Charles Snead Houston 1913–2009

I have always felt there was a kind of classical Grecian quality about Charlie’s life. This was perhaps best expressed by Charlie’s and my boss, the great Walter Paepcke, founder of the Container Corporation of America and the Aspen Institute, who once said to me, “I think Charlie Houston is driven by the pursuit of virtue.” I don’t know whether this pursuit was inspired by his impressive father, Oscar, or by “Angel Bunny,” his equally impressive mother. I do know that the keeper of the flame of virtue was his Minerva-like wife, Dorcas. Virtue in the Greek sense demanded also the pursuit of excellence and certainly Charlie exemplified that in whatever he undertook. I also believe the absence of virtue in so much of contemporary life fueled his curmudgeonliness. He was happiest in the perfections of nature, of dogs, of children, and good science. He was an uncommon man and a great and demanding friend.

Robert Craig

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