Continues in our thoughts...
SANTA CRUZ, CA -- From mournful Scottish bagpipes to a moving Hawaiian chant, the spirit of writer James D. Houston was celebrated Saturday in a remembrance that attracted an estimated 500 people.
Houston, who died at the age of 75 on April 16, was one of Santa Cruz's most celebrated literary figures and his memorial service reflected the essence of a man who was of Scottish ancestry, with Texas roots and an abiding love for Hawaii, but who was above all a man of California.
Writer and filmmaker Geoffrey Dunn, a close family friend, hosted the memorial that also featured such leading literary lights as novelist Maxine Hong Kingston, Hawaiian musical legend Eddie Kamae and former California poet laureate Al Young.
"We're here to honor the life of a radiant spirit," said Dunn in his opening, stressing that the gathering was a "celebration." In that spirit, many of the attendees came dressed in aloha shirts and other festive flower prints.
Houston's influence emcompassed his work as an author of eight novels and numerous essays and non-fiction books, many of them reflections on California history and culture. He was also a teacher and workshop leader at UC Santa Cruz and several other universities and was a long-time board member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. He and his wife, Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, lived in the East Cliff Drive house that once belonged to Donner Party survivor Patty Reed...
-excerpt from Santa Cruz Sentinel, Wallace Baine, 4.26.09
Causes Robert Sward Supports
Audubon Society, National Geographic, "Green," the Environment, SPCA...