Texoma Remembers Roy ‘Pawpaw’ Huston – The Man, The Chili, The Legend
In Memory of:
Roy "Pawpaw" Huston
June 28, 1949 - January 31, 2017
Our dear friend, brother, uncle, coworker, and competition chili cook extraordinaire Roy "PawPaw" Huston passed away on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 in Wichita Falls.
Roy served his country in the National Guard, was a member of Western Heritage Church in Dean, and had worked in radio sales for many years, spending the last 12 years here at Townsquare Media. He was affectionately known as Pawpaw by many and was in charge of collections for the Fantasy of Lights for many years. Roy was a member of the Optimist Club, CASI and participated in many international chili cook-offs throughout the years. He also worked for 30 years in bringing the World of Wheels to Wichita Falls.
Although Roy liked to play the grumpy old man card and could be a bit stubborn and hard-headed at times, those who really knew him saw right through that front and loved him for who he really was - a selfless, caring, and loyal man who touched the hearts of many.
Here are a few tributes and memories from those who knew him best:
It is so hard to lose someone you care about.... I can not tell you how much PawPaw meant to me.... We started working together about 23 years ago... we were friends, co-workers and competitors... because in radio sales your biggest competition is awesome sales person selling the same product... Roy was a very loyal friend you just don't find that much these days... I always told him he needed to find a wife so I don't look like the grieving widow... Well he didn't so I guess I am... I was so honored to be by his side when the Lord called him home... I will miss my friend... I love you PawPaw...... you'll always be in my heart...
I’ll never forget when I helped Roy with a new client who needed a lot of work done in a short time. I pitched in to help him reach a deadline. Later that night, he dropped by my house with a big batch of freshly smoked barbecued ribs to say thanks. What a surprise! I told him he was thoughtful and very kind. His response, “Don’t tell anybody,” he said with a curled up smile, as he turned and walked back to his familiar white pickup.
Townsquare Media was lucky to have such a hard-working and well-liked professional on our team for so long. Roy was a true friend and valued and respected member of our team. His larger than life presence, wry sense of humor, and warm, caring heart are sorely missed. Thanks for touching so many lives in such a positive way, Roy. Godspeed.
Roy Huston, the man with the tough outer shell who was kind at heart. There are too many stories I have about Roy, but my most favorite one happened at the Bull Fight he and I put on with Justin Crawford and friends. Roy asked all of the bullfighters to autograph a few of the event posters. When the event was over, Roy found a disabled little boy, and he presented the poster to the child. I had told Roy that was an awfully nice thing to do. He looked at me and said, “Don’t you tell a soul I did that.” He was always donating his time and money to cooking chili for CASI and for donation collection for the Fantasy of Lights. Even through his stay in the hospital, he was worried about cooking chili for the kids. Roy will be sorely missed
My favorite Roy memory was during the Hospice Radiothon in Wichita Falls one year. We had been broadcasting live for a million straight hours . . . and had been working for weeks to prep for the day. Roy came and pulled me aside and handed me a check for a donation. I asked him if I could say his name on the radio. He, in typical Roy fashion, said, "No . . . and don't tell anyone I did something nice. They wouldn't believe you anyway."
I think there are a million Roy stories of his gruff outside but soft and mushy inside. When you did get a smile out of him, it was an important smile because you had to work for it!
One cold Friday night in December, Roy and I were at the Fantasy of Lights collecting donations. As usual, I was wearing Vans, so by the time my shift wrapped up, my feet were freezing. I made the comment about my feet being cold to which Roy responded with, “What size shoe do you wear?” I told him I usually wore a 10 or 11, depending on the brand. It turned out, Roy and I both wear the same size, so he told me he had some snow boots he didn’t wear and that I could have them. He showed up for work the following Monday with the boots and I’ve worn them on several occasions, including my shift at Fantasy of Lights this year. I have many fond memories of Roy, but that one act of kindness pretty much sums him up.
He was a Gentlemen and a jerk all in one, but he wouldn’t be Roy if he wasn’t that way. I enjoyed hearing his crazy stories from his younger days, his flirting with any good-looking woman no matter what age. He made me laugh, he made me mad, he made me love him the way he was. Almost 7 years working with Roy and we were always on our toes with him. He will be missed very much here at his Townsquare Media home. I know we all cared for Pawpaw; (always Roy to me though), here. Not hearing his voice right now is what I miss most, because I couldn’t understand half of what he was saying to me in the first place. I will miss Roy, a one of a kind person who was more than what he seemed.
Incredibly sad to learn of the passing of Roy Huston. Roy was the first 'real Texan' I met on my adventure of relocating to the Lone Star State. He drove a pick-up truck. He wore pearl snap shirts. He made chili. His vernacular taught me that in Texas, any word that ends with an 'o' is automatically replaced with an 'a' in pronunciation. EXAMPLE: Taco; Taca. Casino; Casina. Burrito; Burrita. He was a character. His stories of running old honky tonks and putting on rodeos and bull fights were legendary and always made me smile. It also always puzzled me that one of Roy’s big vacation destinations was the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park to attend the chili cook off at The Outlaw Cigar Shop. For somebody who grew up quite literally within walking distance of The Outlaw, I never considered it much of a destination spot. But, that was his vacation and from what I'm told most of the time he won that competition. In the short time I knew Roy he definitely made an impact on my life and made me smile. I hope heaven has plenty of menthol cigarettes and bottomless bowls of chili.
We have known Roy since the early days of the World of Wheels. We helped him at many of the Townsquare car shows. Roy has done so many things through his years in Wichita Falls for his community. It will be dearly missed by so many people who grew up with him.
He will be missed. He was a great asset to the city as well as an innovative advertiser for the local radio stations. I always like working with Roy. He was so hands-on when he worked with you.
Roy was a funny, kind hearted and generous man. I knew him from my gunfighting days with the Shootists, and from competition BBQ and chili cooking. He was a good friend, and will be missed.
Big Jim Russell:
Long before cookoffs and radio, I met and got to know Roy just before he courted and eventually married Rhonda with Menasco Leather Goods. Occasionally working with him as a Shootist and seeing him on his soft drink deliveries at area grocery stores.
We did work together for a short time in radio sales...and his serving spirit during the Burns Fantasy Of Lights was unmatched.
Rest in peace good friend. Cya soon!
He was always there when we needed something and would run and pick it up.
Ornery old man had the biggest heart of anyone I've ever known.
A great volunteer for the CASI charity organization. Always a strong competitor at a CASI Cookoff.
Shasta Gibson Smith:
Roy Houston was a brother, an uncle, a friend, and a pawpaw to everyone who knew him. He was loyal, funny, and hardworking. He loved God, and he served people. He was the true spirit of Texoma, who will be greatly missed. Fly high pawpaw.
Roy... I'm sure going to miss seeing your face at all those events and radio promos...
Pawpaw was one of a kind, and his sense of humor was the same. Pawpaw you will be missed.
He loved the ladies but he loved God more...With always something "smart" to say when he opened the door. He was loved by many and a friend to all...He will forever be our PawPaw.
Jim Ezell, Past President Chili Appreciation Society Int. (CASI):
Roy Huston was a competition chili cook and a good one. He got me involved in that world. As I rose in the ranks he helped me many times with special projects behind the scenes. He was a quiet and generous man and will be missed.
Roy all way enjoyed our family gatherings so he could listen to the kids tell their stories of what was happening.
PawPaw always thought of others before himself...he showed his love by firing up his smoker.