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Houston H. Harte

Obituary for Houston H. Harte

February 15, 1927 - September 16, 2019
San Antonio, Texas | Age 92


Houston Harriman Harte passed on September 16, 2019 in San Antonio. Known and loved (and sometimes feared) for his sharp wit and exacting expectations, he was also known for his quiet faith, generosity, dogged love of aviation, and incomparable baking skills. Most importantly, he taught his family through his own example that integrity, faith, a charitable spirit, humility, and healthy skepticism are the most important traits to possess – and they are ones that we will continue to carry with us as his legacy.

In true H3 style, he penned his obituary long ago, which is included below; it should be added, as an unsolicited pseudo-editorial note, that the brevity of his remarks on his own life far underestimate the zeal, humor, love, adventure, and leadership that marked it:

Houston Harriman Harte was born February 15, 1927 in San Angelo. He attended high school at Texas Country Day (now St. Marks) in Dallas. He attended New Mexico Military Academy in Roswell for one semester before entering the Navy in January 1945. Discharged in 1946 as a SK3, he began college at Washington and Lee University that fall. He joined the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon and graduated with the class of 1950. He married Carolyn Hardig in June of that year. They settled in Snyder, Texas where he worked with his brother, Edward, to turn a weekly newspaper there into a daily. Houston and Carolyn had two sons in the four years they lived in Snyder. A daughter was born in Des Moines, IA to which they moved in 1954, moving to San Angelo in 1956. A second daughter was born to them there in 1958. Houston worked for his father at the newspaper in San Angelo until 1962. In that year the family moved to San Antonio when the parent company, Harte Hanks, bought the Express News and KENS-TV. In 1968 with the retirement of publisher, Conway Craig, he became the chief executive and held that position while the company prepared to go public, which it did in 1972. Houston became chairman of the public company and held that position until 1999.

In San Antonio, he served on various boards including the Chamber of Commerce. He was a pioneer member of the Cancer Therapy and Research Center board. Active in the First Presbyterian Church, he helped in the rescue of Mission Road Ministries and was a longtime benefactor of Mission Road Developmental Center, where a grandson was a resident.
He served on a number of college boards. He was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to the Board of Visitors of the Air Force Academy in 1966. He was a member of the board at Washington and Lee University, East Texas State University, and Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, AL.

Survivors are his wife of 69 years, Carolyn; two sons, Houston Ritchie and his wife, Anne of Santa Barbara and David Harriman of Seattle; a daughter, Sarah Elizabeth and her husband John Gutzler of San Antonio; seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his daughter, Caroline Louise, who died at age 14. The support and friendship of Elsa Guzman and Kathryn Lay in his last years are most appreciated by his family.

While never much of a golfer, he had three holes-in-one during his golf years. He was an active pilot until well into retirement with over 8,000 hours. It was a great joy in his life.

SEPTEMBER 23, 2019
10:30 a.m.
404 N. ALAMO ST.

Interment will be private. Reverend Dr. Bob Fuller, officiating. Honorary pallbearers will be Houston Ritchie Harte, David Harriman Harte, John Gutzler, Sam Maclin, Fred Middleton, Jim Hayne, Rev. Dr. Louis Zbinden and Larry Franklin. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given in his name to Mission Road Ministries, 8706 Mission Road, San Antonio, Texas 78214.

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Porter Loring Mortuary

1101 McCullough Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78212
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