news and events » obituaries

Obituaries Header


return to Obituaries

Everett L. Houston ( McCall 1971 )

posted: Jun 30, 2008

Sam, 62, died June 18, 2008, of multiple myeloma attributed to Agent Orange exposure in the Vietnam War. He was born in Berkeley, California.

He was drafted in 1966 and became a member of the Special Forces SOG unit and completed missions in Vietnam and Laos.

Sam jumped two seasons at McCall before returning to work for Air America in Laos in 1973. He then jumped at McCall in 1974 and Fairbanks 1975-78 while attending medical school at UC Davis and Stanford University.

He practiced as a Family Nurse Practitioner for 30 years, mostly in the Redding, California, area.

From Mike Nielson (MYC-73): "Doc" went by Sam, never Everett. Those that didn't know about "Doc" were OK with Sam. The "Doc" came from being a Green Beret medic in Vietnam and he had been an Air America cargo kicker out of Vientiane, Laos. Like me, Sam had left Southeast Asia behind or so we thought until a few shared pitchers allowed the Vietnam experience to resurface between the two of us. It was a sheltered experience we didn't share. Sam was a giant among the Laotians. His stature had no less esteem with me who valued his friendship and the new experience of getting out of an airplane.

The legacies you have admirably documented about smokejumpers and their military experience has made me realize how much our biographies, while illustrious, don't tell the whole story of the person and we are left with conjecture about the essence and character of guys like Sam for those who never knew the "Doc." We knew the Sam who had the commonality of US as smokejumpers sharing what we do but never knowing what we did.

To me, Sam was "Doc" because of what I knew of his experiences as a Green Beret medic. Beneath the rugged veneer of our shared dangers, Sam had the gentle, soft essence of a caregiver; an almost opposing quality to his manliness and stature that made exiting a Volpar as the second man somewhat of a contortionist, just-dive adventure for Sam. A Doug was more suited to Sam's physique.