Travis Houser died peacefully on May 18th at the Salt Lake City Veterans Home, where he received wonderful care for the last 14 months of his life. 

Travis was born on September 1, 1924 in San Francisco.  Because his father was an army officer, the family moved frequently.  They lived in Hawaii for four years, right off of Waikiki Beach.  While there, he swam and sailed with local boys and developed a lifelong love of sailing.  During his adolescence, his father was posted at Langley Field and Travis went to Hampton High School in Hampton, Virginia.  There he met Meg Mason, whom he later married; she was a beautiful, brilliant, warm, witty, but complicated woman.

In 1942, he was drafted, and chose to enlist in the Army’s 11th Airborne Division and served as a paratrooper in the Pacific Theater during World War II. While he was with his division in New Guinea, he received a Presidential appointment to West Point. He returned to the United States and attended West Point for one year.  Having always been an independent thinker and something of a rebel, he realized that military life was not for him, so he transferred to Bard College, from which he graduated in 1949.

In the meantime, he had married Meg Mason and, in 1948, they had their first child, Maria.  In 1949, the family moved to Washington State, where they had three more children, Kristin, Hugh, and Lucy.  Travis had decided on a career as a teacher and taught in the Seattle public schools. Travis was active in organizing the first teachers’ union in Seattle to fight for better salaries.  He also received a master’s degree in education from the University of Washington, while working full-time as a teacher and moonlighting as a cab driver.  In 1959, he and Meg decided to move back East and ended up in upstate New York, where Travis got a job as a high school English teacher at Geneva High School. He was such a spirited and intellectually stimulating teacher that students really enjoyed his classes and remembered him decades later

He later got his PhD in comparative education, and became a college administrator and teacher.  After retiring, he focused on sailing, animal rescue, and family.  He sailed the waters of Puget Sound for five years, mostly living on his boat.  He traveled to Hawaii and Spain, restored his house in upstate New York, and ran the SPCA for Seneca County.  He moved to Salt Lake City in 2012 and lived with his daughter Lucy and beloved grandson Tyeer.  In his last few years of life, loving his people fiercely and fully became all that was important to him.  

He is predeceased by his wife Meg and his son Hugh. He is survived by Maria Houser Conzemius and James Conzemius, Kristin Houser and Steven Scott, and Lucy Houser.  Also survived by Anna Scott Bell and Andrew Scott Bell, Jesse Conzemius and Rachel Hileman, Nicholas Scott and Samantha Wishman, Sarah Conzemius Quinn and Matthew Quinn, Tyeer Houser, Olzhas Binegar, Selamawit Binegar, and Walehwa Binegar.  Thousands of students and hundreds of rescued animals survive him as well. 

Friends are invited to attend the Memorial Service on October 20th at 1:30 pm, with a short reception to follow, at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church at 149 Genesee Street, in Geneva. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Utah State Resident Veterans Fund, 700 Foothill Dr., Salt Lake City, UT, 84148.