Memorial Service Planned for Houston

BOSTON A memorial service has been set for agency founder Doug Houston, who died recently at the age of 52.

The service will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 12, at 3 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 28 Mugford St., Marblehead, Mass. A reception will be held at the Corinthian Yacht Club immediately following the service.

One of the most colorful and controversial characters ever on the New England advertising scene, Houston was known for his frequently brash style and fiercely entrepreneurial spirit. He died on July 29 at his home in Portland, Ore., following a battle with cancer.

During the early- and mid-1990s. he built Houston Effler (later Houston Herstek Favat) into one of the nation’s hottest independents and one of the few local players (along with Arnold, Mullen and Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos) able to successfully compete for national accounts. At its zenith, the Boston-based shop claimed an estimated $200 million in billings, outposts in New York and Venice, Calif., and a roster that at various times included Castrol, Converse, Fidelity Investments, Hannaford Bros., ITT Hartford, Midas and NEC.

In January 1998, Houston sold his Boston operations to Arnold and relocated to the West Coast, where for a time he ran Houston & Helm in Los Angeles before leaving the business about two years ago.

Houston is survived by his wife Victoria Hawkins Houston; his mother Elaine Cline; sons Spencer and D.W.; daughters Lindsay and Mallory; and brothers Stan and Paul.