John Reed Houghton

SCARBOROUGH – John Reed Houghton of Cape Elizabeth, died peacefully with his family close by at Gosnell Hospice House on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. Born on April 10, 1932, in Bangor, Maine, he was the son of Margaret Goodhue (Houghton) Wilson and Amory McLellan Houghton Jr. He was a child of South Portland, attending local schools until high school, when he attended Westtown Friends School in West Chester, Pa. He graduated from Nichols College in Dudley, Mass, where, at 6-feet 8-inches, he was a standout basketball player, not surprisingly dubbed “Stretch”.

John worked in New York City, before moving to Boston, where he met Janet B. Sawtelle, whom he married in 1957. The couple settled in Cape Elizabeth, and John joined his stepfather in business at R. Burgess Wilson Interiors in Portland.

Together John and Jay raised four girls, who are so proud to have inherited their father’s deep love and respect for Mother Nature and have always been so impressed by his unfailing compassion for others, willingness to help anyone in need of kindness, and love for his family and friends. When he walked down Congress Street, he greeted by name everyone from bank president to many who seemed lost and alone.

John was proud of his heritage as the son of Bath, Maine, shipbuilders and was a long supporter of the Bath Marine Museum, now the Maine Maritime Museum. He worked throughout his life to preserve and protect both Maine’s natural resources and the heritage of the Greater Portland community. A founding member of Greater Portland Landmarks, he volunteered for boards, commissions, and committees too numerous to mention.

He was an early board member of Northeast Hearing & Speech and was part of the original Fort Williams Committee, which sparked the effort that turned the languishing former Army installation into the vibrant historic and community treasure it is today. He was a longtime member of the Rotary Club of Portland, receiving its Paul G. Harris Award five times between 1997 and May of 2019. He counted his fellow Rotarians as some of his dearest friends.

He volunteered as a mentor at Long Creek Youth Development Center for many years and was on the board of the Friends of Long Creek. With his children and then grandchildren, he delivered holiday meals to homebound seniors on Christmas Day through Meals on Wheels for more than 40 years.

John loved to fish, and on business trips around southern Maine, was known to roll up the pants of his business suit and wet a line when he passed a stream or pond that looked promising. He spent his childhood summers at his father’s sports camp on Spencer Bay at Moosehead Lake, a beloved place he later shared with his daughters and grandchildren, introducing them to the profound beauty of the woods, waters, birds, and all of nature’s gifts.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Janet S. Houghton, daughters, Grace A. Houghton (husband, Jack Day) of South Portland, Elisabeth (Biz) F. Houghton (wife, Beverly Kimpel) of Freeport, Margaret G. Houghton of Northeast Harbor, and Christina “Nina” R. Houghton Brown of Portland. His dearly loved grandchildren are Meagan B. Falls (husband, Lindsay Falls), Christina A. Blank (wife, Amy Johnson) Gretchen S. Blank, Frances B. Hadlock (husband, Cote Hadlock), Oliver R. Blank, Margaret G. Myers, and John H. Myers. His great-grandchildren, Mark O. Hadlock and Ophelia G. Falls, brought him great joy in the later months of his life. Other survivors are brothers, Amory M. Houghton III (wife, Joan) of Yarmouth and Peter B. Wilson (wife, Gail) of Raymond and Naples, Fla.; sister and brother-in-law, Joe and Audrey Delafield, and sister-in-law, Christina Teale, all of Scarborough. Many dear nieces and nephews scattered around the country will also miss “Unkie/Uncle John”. He was predeceased by sons-in-law, John L. Myers and Christopher F. Brown.

John’s family gives heartfelt thanks to his incredible care teams in the CICU on Richards 9 at Maine Medical Center and at Gosnell House. There are no words to describe their professionalism and kindness.

We will celebrate John’s beautiful life at 3:00 p.m., on Sunday, December 8, at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Cape Elizabeth.

Arrangements entrusted to Hobbs Funeral Home, South Portland. Online condolences may be expressed at

In lieu of flowers, please cheer for heartily the Patriots and the Red Sox, and/or alternatively, make a donation to the Moosehead Historical Society & Museums,

PO Box 1116,

Greenville ME 04441 or Islesford Boatworks,

PO Box 261,

Little Cranberry Island, ME 04646.