As part of our Vancouver Island Masonic History Project, with its sections on Vancouver Island Cemeteries – Masonic Interments and Deceased Brethren, here is a page on William Kyle Houston, Past Grand Master, who is buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.

William Kyle Houston as Grand Master of B.C., circa 1908
William Kyle Houston as Grand Master of B.C., circa 1908

William Kyle Houston was a member of Victoria-Columbia Lodge, No.1 in Victoria, B.C.

Here is a brief biographical sketch of M.W. Brother William Kyle Houston taken from local newspaper accounts of his death and funeral:

“HOUSTON – On the 19th inst., at his home, October Mansions, William Kyle Houston, aged 66 years, born in Ireland, a resident of Victoria for the past 18 years. The deceased is survived by his widow and one son, Hillis Houston, of Seattle.

The remains are reposing at the Thomson Funeral Chapel, from where the funeral will leave on Wednesday, Nov. 22, at 1.45, proceeding to St. John’s church, where the Rev. Chadwick will officiate. Funeral will be under the auspices of the Victoria Lodge, No. 1, A.F. & A.M. [note: this was a typo in the original. It should be Victoria-Columbia Lodge, No.1]

Friends kindly accept this invitation.

No flowers by request.

Funeral by motor.”

(Source: Victoria Daily Times 20 November 1916 page 13)

            “W.K. Houston Died Yesterday Morning

An estimable citizen passed away yesterday morning in the person of William Kyle Houston, formerly head of the well-known manufacturing firm of W.K. Houston & Co., the end coming somewhat suddenly as the termination of a long illness. The late Mr. Houston had been a resident of Victoria for eighteen years and took a prominent part in public matters, and besides serving on the aldermanic board was also a member of the board of trade.

A native of County Derry, Ireland, the deceased gentleman was sixty-two years of age. He was engaged in the linen business in Belfast, Ireland, before going to Australia, where for fourteen years he followed the same line. He ultimately decided to remove to Vancouver Island and in 1898 came to Victoria and went into partnership with the late Mr. Brady in the Brady-Houston Pickling Company. Later he was connected with a dry goods manufacturers’ agency under the name of Appleby, Houston & Co. Severing his connection with that business again becoming associated with Mr. Brady. On the death of the latter the business was incorporated as W.K. Houston & Co., one of the leading manufacturing concerns of the city.

About four years ago he retired, finding his health unequal to the strain of business responsibility. Latterly he and Mrs. Houston had made their home at the October Mansions, removing there from the Balmoral hotel, where they had been resident for a long time.

Mr. Houston was returned alderman in the first election-at-large to be held in the city in 1913. His service there was regrettably short, for in the summer of that year he was seized with a stroke, and only once again visited the council chamber, the occasion being just before his colleagues left office. At that time he looked very feeble, and his fellow members could not but deplore the change.

During the time he was in the council he was chairman of the electric light committee. He showed a keen interest in public affairs, and there is no doubt that had his illness not intervened at that time he would have done much useful work as an alderman.

He was a Liberal, and gave earnest and unflinching support to the party. He was a candidate for provincial honors at the election of 1909 when, with his colleagues, he went down to defeat.

Mr. Houston had been one of the most prominent Masons in British Columbia, and it was an honor to his lodge, Victoria-Columbia No. 1, A.F. & A.M., of which he was a past master, when he reached the grand master’s chair in June 1908. He conducted the affairs of grand lodge with that characteristic impartiality and courtesy which marked his public and private life throughout his whole career.

Besides the widow there survives a son, H.R. Houston of Seattle, who arrived here with his wife this morning, and two grandchildren.

The funeral, which is to be in charge of the Masons, will be held on Wednesday afternoon. Service will be held at St. John’s church at 2 o’clock, and the procession will leave about 2.30 for Ross Bay cemetery.”

(Source: Victoria Daily Times, 20 November 1916, page 5)

William Kyle Houston is buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.

William Kyle Houston grave, Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.
William Kyle Houston grave, Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.
Inscription on William Kyle Houston grave, Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.
Inscription on William Kyle Houston grave, Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.

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