F. John Houghton obituary

Born 1918, died 2008. A graduate of the Department of Material Sciences (BMet Metallurgy 1940).

John Houghton graduated with a BMet in 1940, and spent most of his working life in the business of making refractory bricks. After graduating he worked for the English Steel Corporation until 1947, in refractories laboratories in steel making units in Sheffield and Manchester.

In 1947 he married Betty and in the following years they had two daughters, Pamela and Gillian.

After a spell with W. Wild & Sons Ltd as Assistant Works Manager at the Holyhead Silica Brick Works, he joined Pickford Holland (later Dyson’s) at the factory on the way out of Sheffield at Owler Bar, and later worked at their head office on Fulwood Road. There he followed in the footsteps of his father (who had been a Sales Director) and worked his way up, eventually to the position of Managing Director, which he held until his retirement in 1981. The company were at the high end of the refractory industry, specialising in lining materials for very high temperature glass furnaces.

A keen golfer, John was President of the Abbeydale Golf Club during 1998/99, and was for many years the volunteer who ran the Veterans Section. Outside golf, he was a keen participant in the events held by Dore PROBUS, he and his wife going on many of the activity holidays organised by that club.

He died on 29 December, just a month after his 90th birthday.

His friends spoke of a delightful and genuinely lovely gentleman who would never speak ill of anyone. As President he would tend to keep in the background at Board meetings whilst at the same time, taking everything in.

When others started to get bogged down in complicated detail he would suddenly cut through the mud and immediately get them back on track to the very core of the issue. Not a man of many words, but very astute.

The University is very grateful to John’s widow Betty and daughter Gillian, who kindly donated several items of University memorabilia from John’s time as a student and alumnus.