Herbert Arnold Houston, 92, of Kennett Square, a high school science teacher, died Thursday, Feb. 26, of complications from Alzheimer's disease at his home in Kendal-Crosslands, a retirement community.
Nicknamed "Doc," Mr. Houston was named for Dr. Herbert Arnold, the Philadelphia physician who delivered him in 1922.
After graduating from high school, Mr. Houston fought in World War II as an Army Air Force bombardier and navigator in the European Theater. He flew B-17s from a base in Italy.
He served from April 1944 to December 1945 and was awarded the Purple Heart for having been wounded in action on Feb. 21, 1945. He was honorably discharged with the rank of first lieutenant. Later, he was a major in the Air Force Reserve.
After the war, he enrolled in Pennsylvania State University and earned a bachelor's degree in liberal arts, business, and science. He went on to earn a master's degree in biology and education from what was then West Chester State Teacher's College.
He was a junior and senior high school science and biology teacher in the West Chester Area School District for 28 years before retiring in 1986.
Mr. Houston met Nancy Hoskins when they both worked in the Boy Scout office in West Chester. The two married in 1955 and had three sons. His wife died of heart disease in 1974.
Mr. Houston delighted in nature and taught his boys about birds, plants, insects, gardening, and how to camp and hike.
Ornithology was a lifelong interest of Mr. Houston's. He had learned birding from his father and knew so much about how to identify and band birds that he was a federally licensed bird bander for 60 years. He worked on bird-banding and birdhouse projects at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square and also created a project along Bennetts Run at Crosslands to map patterns of bird migration and population.
In 1975, Mr. Houston married Sarah Lee Beard Ough, a music teacher at Unionville Elementary School, and a fellow parishioner at the Church of the Holy Trinity in West Chester. She was a widow with three children, and the two created a blended family.
"With six teenagers in one house, parental life was a whirlwind," his children wrote in a remembrance. "The bathroom shower was well-used, frequently flooding the floor."
So Mr. Houston invented a gadget to keep water from leaking out of the shower. He and his wife named it NoMorWetFloor, patented it, and sold it through QVC and catalogs; sales were brisk enough to help put the children through college.
His children described Mr. Houston as kind, gentle, and loving.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Houston is survived by sons Tom, Andy, and Mark; stepchildren Larry, Sallie Ough Nangeroni, and Martha Ough Briggs; 14 grandchildren; and a sister. Three brothers died earlier.
Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at Crosslands, 1660 E. Street Rd., Kennett Square, and at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at the Church of the Holy Trinity, 212 S. High St., West Chester. Interment is private.
Donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Association National Office, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Floor 17, Chicago, Ill. 60601.