SPECIAL REPORT: Rusk icon dies, leaves behind 106 years of memories and missions

Local News

106 years. Can you imagine living such a long life? A man named Houston White didn’t just imagine it but lived it for 106 years.

Now his community in Rusk is honoring him after he served them for so long.

“Houston White was the founder of the Rusk Rotary Club 70 years ago,” Tara Tatarski, member, said.

“The city of Rusk, and community of Rusk, Cherokee County, is better because of Houston White,” Jeff Carroll, longtime friend, said.

“If you were around Houston, you wanted to be a better person, Jaleea Dowling, rotary club member, said. “You wanted to exemplify what he exemplified.”

“Houston White is Mr. Rusk I would say,” Larry Sinclair, long time friend, said.

Words like these you’ll hear all across the city. So much so, that we had to meet the man himself back in 2017, spotlighting his role as a philanthropist.

“I came here to help people, I’ve been doing it all my life,” Houston White said.

And that he did, and continued to do for another two years before he died.

“God left him hear to touch as many hearts as he could. He definitely had a purpose. He was definitely here for that long to inspire.”

106 years of life. Some of those spent in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

Some of those spent as a city councilman. A Sunday school teacher. Rusk Rotary Club founder and president. A husband. Father. A dear friend to many families.

“His age, just like his character and integrity, don’t come along that often.”

While Houston was still alive, the rotary club wanted to surprise him with something special. They added a memorial at the Rusk baseball field. First in honor of him, and now, to remember him.

“He hated that we made a big fuss out of him over that, but he was so deserving. We have now named our scholarships through our rotary club the Houston White Scholarship Fund.”

For the people he leaves behind, they have lost a lot in his passing, but for Houston, he gained everything.

“When Houston went home to heaven, it was a great day for Houston. And I think many times that those days for us who are still here, to be separated from those we love, it’s hard on us. But for Houston, it was a great day.”

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