John Lansing Houston
February 10, 1945 - March 4, 2019
Lanse Houston, 74, of Morehead City, NC, died peacefully in his sleep after recent months of disabling cardiovascular illness.
Raised in Raleigh, Lanse was a graduate of Broughton High School, class of 1962, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was a brother in the Upsilon Chapter of Zeta Psi Fraternity. He spent his summers at Camp Sea Gull, both as a camper and a counselor on the sailing staff. After college he worked for Williams & Haywood Realty as a Broker, and later partnered with Joe Kalkhurst to form Dillion & Company Realty. At the time of his death, he was a Realtor with Al Williams Properties. Lanse was elected President of the Regional Raleigh Association of REALTORS (RRAR) in 1978 and served on the Board of Directors for several years and was head of many of the important committees. He was honored as Realtor of the Year in 1990 and again in 2010 as a member of the RRAR Hall of Fame and Realtor Emeritus in 2011. Lanse was a member of the Terpsichorean Club, sponsor of the NC Debutante Ball and served as its President in 1979 and Ball Chairman in 1980. He continued his commitment as an Honorary member serving as an usher for the Ball and Chairman of the Honorary membership committee. He was a longtime member of White Memorial Presbyterian Church where he frequently drove the church bus on Sundays to pick up the elderly for church services. Lanse was a member of the Old Raleigh Boys Club and the Sphinx Club.
An accomplished golfer, Lanse grew up on Lakeview Drive across the street from the Carolina Country Club where he became Club Champion in 1972 earning him the nickname "Mr. Golf," a title befitting his legacy beginning on the Golf Team at Broughton. He spent his summers on the coasts at Morehead City and North Myrtle Beach, owned boats through the years, and once captained a sailboat with his sons, commandeering them as shipmates to explore the British Virgin Islands. Lanse and Debbie traveled extensively, often with life-long friends from their childhoods spanning both Carolinas. They created unforgettable memories of celebratory life wherever they ventured.
Lanse with Debbie, their children, grandchildren, family and friends never had a dull moment when he was around. Lanse had a way of making each person feel special and loved, with his innocent mischievous twinkle. To protect his sweet tooth from a house full of four children, Lanse was known to hide his favorite Dove chocolate bars in plain sight in the freezer disguised in an empty box of frozen broccoli (which, incidentally, he detested). Handsome, elegant and debonair he was a class act, and a true southern gentleman. He was comfortable whether in a tuxedo at each annual NC Debutante Ball, in an island t-shirt on a hot summer day walking barefoot on a beach, or skiing in Aspen and Sun Valley. He lived life to the fullest and gave each day its full measure of pleasure. Lanse loved his friends (and you know who you are). He also loved his beloved Tarheels.
Lanse is survived by his wife, Debbie Strong Houston, of 33 years and his son John Jr. and wife Janna of Raleigh, and his other children Jimmy Joyce of Raleigh, NC, Jenkie Arnold and her husband Dan of Rancho Santa Fe, CA, and Lawson Joyce and his wife Sheldon of Charlotte, NC. His beloved grandchildren John Houston III, Robert Houston, Richard Houston, Wooten Joyce, James Joyce, Mary Selwyn Arnold, Simmons Arnold, Blanche Rose Arnold, Lawson Joyce, Jr. and Hardin Joyce.
Lanse is preceded in death by his parents Janie Rose Rogers Houston and Francis Marion Houston and his infant granddaughter Mary Virginia Joyce Arnold. The family is forever grateful to Dana Sewell who lovingly cared for Lanse, and always made sure he got his daily chocolate milkshake from El's Drive-In.
Following Lanse's wishes that his bodily remains be cremated, a Celebration of Life will be held on March 27th at 2:00 PM at White Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1704 Oberlin Road in Raleigh, NC. Family will receive visitation immediately following the ceremony in the Jane Bell Gathering Space.
Original obituary was published in The News & Observer on Mar. 10, 2019
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