John Coleman Houx


VAN ALSTYNE — John Coleman Houx was a hard-working, soft-hearted, and lovable curmudgeon. Never content to be idle, he worked until the day before he died on February 18, 2017 at the age of 83. If he teased you or gave you a hard time that meant he liked you. John loved a lot of things, including his family, friends, his black lab Maggie, red wine, double stuffed oreos, having a game plan, and being in charge. He was born on October 28, 1933 in Chickasha, Oklahoma, where he attended school through graduation, played football, rode on calls with his uncle who was the chief of police and met his wife, Shirley. Later, John attended the University of Oklahoma and studied architecture for two years. During a stint in the Army, he was put in charge of securing entertainment for the troops at Yucca Flats, Nevada during atomic bomb tests in the 1950’s. His family secretly wondered whether being so close to ground zero caused the stubborn streak that anyone who ever worked with him can attest to. His sister, however, confirmed he was born with it. After his honorable discharge from the Army, he married Shirley in 1956 and they set off on an adventure, moving 28 times in three years while living in a 28 foot trailer as John built fixtures in Sears stores throughout Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and New Mexico. During that time their son, Greg, was born. The family settled in Dallas in 1959 and John began work with the architectural firm Virginia Metal Products. Shortly after daughter Janie was born, the family spent two years in Atlanta. It was then that John got the entrepreneurial bug and began creating a hardware sales rep agency that merged and grew over the years. Greg joined John in the business in 1976 and discovered the joys of working with his father. In 1983, John and Shirley moved to Van Alstyne, Texas. John bought the Van Alstyne Hardware store after retiring from the rep business in 1996. The hardware store is where John held court six days a week until the day before he died. He believed in community involvement, and the hardware store was the perfect place to meet people and keep his finger on the pulse of the town. John served as president of the Van Alstyne Economic Development Committee for four years, designed and built the gazebo at the Dorothy Fielder Park, and supported many local non-profits.


John will be missed by his family, his many friends and his dog, Maggie. His family members include wife Shirley, son Greg Houx and daughter-in-law Phyllis Houx, daughter Janie James and husband Rob Gilbreath, grandsons Parker Houx, Brian Houx and Angus Gilbreath, granddaughter Lily Gilbreath and great-granddaughters Adalyn Houx, Harper Houx and Ivy Houx, and sister Nancy Adams.


In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the Van Alstyne Friends of the Library, P.O. Box 1132, Van Alstyne, Texas 75495.


A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. at the First Christian Church, of Van Alstyne, 274 S Waco St, Van Alstyne, Texas.


Services are under the direction of Scoggins Funeral Home & Crematory, 637 W. Van Alstyne, Pkwy Van Alstyne, Texas 75495. 903-482-5225