Deaths | July 10, 2009 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Community Pulse - July 10, 2009


Joseph Cannon Houghteling

Joseph Cannon Houghteling, 84, a former resident of Palo Alto and Atherton, died June 23 at his home in San Francisco after a short illness.

He was born Dec. 7, 1924, in San Francisco. He attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. He then joined the Navy V-12 college officer training program and attended Bates College and the College of the Holy Cross. He served aboard the USS Ocklawaha in 1945-46 with the forces occupying Japan. He graduated from Yale in 1947. He lived in Palo Alto, Los Gatos and for more than 20 years in Atherton. After moving back to San Francisco in 1978, he kept a home in Portola Valley.

He spent many years in pro bono public service, with an emphasis on regional government, transportation and the balance between conservation and development. In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, he and his partners published a string of community newspapers that at various times included The Sunnyvale Standard, The Mountain View Register-Leader, The Gilroy Dispatch, The Los Gatos Times-Observer and The Pleasanton Times. He also founded Diablo Press, which published books including "The Sinking of the Lollipop" by Rodney G. Minott, about the congressional campaign of Pete McCloskey and Shirley Temple Black.

He was a California delegate to the Democratic Conventions of 1956, supporting Adlai Stevenson, and of 1960, supporting John F. Kennedy. He was Northern California treasurer to the 1960 Kennedy presidential campaign. He participated in many other campaigns, including those of Pat and Jerry Brown, John Tunney, Al Alquist, Dianne Feinstein and McCloskey.

He served on the boards of numerous nonprofits including Stanford Hospital, Peninsula School in Menlo Park, California Tomorrow, the Planning and Conservation League Foundation, the Coro Foundation and the California Newspaper Publishers Association.

He joked that he was "one of Pat Brown's youngest appointees and one of Jerry Brown's oldest." Gov. Edmund G. "Pat" Brown appointed him to the State Park Commission, which he eventually chaired, in 1959; in 1964 he was appointed to the State Highway Commission. He was appointed to BCDC in 1971; in the mid-1970s, Gov. Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown Jr. appointed him chairman, a post he held until 1982. While chairman, he shepherded through the Suisun Marsh Protection Plan, which shielded 89,000 acres of wetlands and wildlife habitat from uncontrolled development.

From 1972 to 1982, he was a member of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. From 1984 to 1992, he served on the bi-state Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. He also was president of the National Maritime Museum Association from 1992 to 1994. He was instrumental in bringing the World War II submarine the USS Pampanito to Pier 45.

He is survived by his wife, Signa Judith Irwin Houghteling; his daughters with the late Frances Fisher Houghteling: Anne Houghteling of Palo Alto, Elizabeth Houghteling of Cambridge, Mass., and Mary Houghteling of Berkeley; and his grandson, Philip Cannon Houghteling Balboni of Cambridge, Mass.

Donations in Houghteling's memory may be made to Save the Bay or the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association.

Marjorie Townsley Rawlins

Marjorie Townsley Rawlins, 89, a former resident of Palo Alto, died May 19 at her Balboa Island home.

She was born in 1920 and lived on the Peninsula for 28 years, later moving to Southern California. She attended the University of South Dakota, where she met her husband, Robert Rawlins. The couple was active in the performing arts community.

In 1995 the university awarded her an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters. She was awarded the University of California, Irvine Medal for her and Robert's contributions to the University.

She was a musician and philanthropist, and founder of the Peninsula Women's Chorus.

Her husband Robert preceded her in death her in 1993. She is survived by her daughter, Pam Rawlins Courtial of Newport Beach, Calif.; her son, Jeff Rawlins of Sequim, Wash.; two granddaughters and three great grandchildren. The family asks that contributions be made to the arts organization of the donor's choice.


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