Co-Founder of Festival of Lights Parade -enjoyed by generations Bobbie Huston, co-founder of the annual Los Altos Festival of Lights Parade that continues to be enjoyed by multiple generations, passed away peacefully December 3, 2019 after her courageous battle with Cancer. All those whose life has been touched by Bobbie, will dearly miss this thoughtful and delightful woman. Bobbie was 92. Barbara Ginter Huston was born in Hettinger, North Dakota on July 26, 1927. Her childhood was shaped by loving parents that partnered in making a living in South Dakota. Her daughter Maridee Charlton recalls:” Mom was an only child and her imagination and ingenuity were fully utilized in entertaining herself while growing up in what she admitted was in the middle of nowhere. She loved of to dance and always wanted to be a professional dancer. She grew up dancing, and ultimately wanted to be a Rockette, at but 5'2" she wasn't tall enough.” Daughter Robin Johnston also remembers: “In high school in Marshalltown, Iowa, she was a very good drummer and Mom competed in state competitions leading up to college and was state champion for 2 years.
” Bobbie attended the University of Iowa and earned her degree in Education and Speech Pathology. While in college she continued her pursuit of drumming and dance and auditioned for the all-girls Iowa Hawkeyes “Scottish Highlanders” Drumming and Bagpipe Band. She made the squad and ironically, her small stature became an asset as she was chosen with the honor of being the only band member to dance the Highland Fling on top of a base drum hoisted in the air by 4 other women bandmembers. “Her passion for Scottish music was found on her favorite bumper sticker - On the 8th day, God created bagpipes”, notes Robin. Bobbie found her life-long partner with a passionate romance following a blind date in Iowa City when she met Jack Huston, a fun-loving small-town kid from Olds, Iowa. With the Scottish Highlanders band and while Jack was serving the USA in World War II, she traveled all over the country performing for various groups. “Mom’s dancing skills were excellent, and she was selected to appear in NYC in the Broadway Show Brigadoon. She declined the invitation as she was seriously dating Dad at the time and knew a move to California after graduation was inevitable,” recalls Maridee. The couple completed their education in Iowa City and upon graduation Jack moved to Los Altos and with brother-in-law, Billy Russell, established the Los Altos menswear retail store: Russell-Huston. In 1950, Bobbie and Jack were married in Iowa and immediately made Los Altos their home, where Bobbie was integral in the menswear business and she worked side-by-side with Jack in numerous store locations, schools and community efforts. Continually proud of Los Altos as a “community of positive-thinking people”, Bobbie was an instrumental leader in the health, education, civic and business affairs. “Mom was proud of her teaching years at a Junior High school in Mountain View. She was very involved in both Robin and my lives growing up” says Maridee. “She enjoyed being a Girl Scout leader, PTA President, President of the Los Altos High Band Booster Club and a long-time member of the AAUW.” Robin adds: “I cannot believe how many of my baton twirling competitions she drove me to and sat through!” Bobbie’s commitment to the City of Los Altos continued while serving on the Los Altos Beautification Committee (now known as the Planning Commission), while also enjoying being a volunteer at the History Museum. “I know Mom was extremely proud of the fact that she and Dad were founding Board Members of the Festival of Lights Parade Association and she continued to serve this association throughout 2019”, recalls Maridee. Bobbie and Jack also played key roles in the passage of bonds for: The Fire Station near City Hall and the ongoing development of El Camino Hospital. “During her later years, I know she was honored to receive Los Altos Volunteer of the Year as well as being Grand Marshall of the annual Pet Parade one year” recollects Robin. Bobbie and Jack were huge supporters of Stanford Athletics. “Mom loved to tell the story of how Russell-Huston outfitted the Stanford Football team with matching sport coats, slacks, shirts and ties for the 1971 Rose Bowl”, notes Maridee. Bobbie continued her passion for Stanford while working for 10 years at the Stanford Athletics Ticket Office in ticket sales and customer relations. Upon retirement, she and Jack became docents at the Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame. Robin adds: “Mom was religious in her support of Stanford Women’s Basketball and hardly ever missed a home game.” Bobbie was a lover of participating in sports, particularly Golf, Tennis, and Bocce. She started playing golf at the age eleven and she and Jack were members at Los Altos CC, Stanford Golf Club and Villages Golf and Tennis Club in San Jose. She was a regular in the weekly Stanford Women’s Golf Group and continued with the Women’s 9-hole group at The Villages, where she and Jack resided after leaving Los Altos. Bobbie was instrumental in organizing and presiding over the competitive Bocce team at The Villages. “Mom really wanted to be back in Los Altos and so she moved back in 2017, residing at The Terraces on Pine Lane,” Maridee notes. “Her competence, congeniality and sense of humor were appreciated by all Residents, especially when she served as Resident Association Vice President. She was proud to be part of the travelling squad of the Terraces Balloon Volleyball Team.” The marvelous and long life and finest legacy of Lil’ Gramma - her nickname given to her by her grandchildren – is the wonderful impact she has had on her loving family. “Mom had a very sly and sneaky sense of humor and she always kept encounters with her lively. She was a hardworking, caring and a loving Mother and Grandma. Her welcoming demeanor combined with loving guidance has given our family and her friends unlimited and timeless fond memories” says Robin. Maridee adds: “Mom was blessed with living a life full of enjoying dance, music, golf, sporting events and spending time at Lake Tahoe with members of all sides of the family. She and Dad would enjoy an evening cocktail and I can hear them telling funny stories that would leave everyone chuckling. She had a unique approach to the challenges in life will be sorely missed by all!” Mrs. Huston was preceded in death by her parents, Russ and Edna Ginter and her husband, John W. (Jack) Huston. She is survived by her daughters Maridee (Bruce) Charlton and Robin (Bill) Johnston as well as three grandchildren: Michael Johnston, Casey Charlton and Brian Johnston. To honor her wishes, a “Celebration of Life” will be held in her honor on Saturday January 11, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church in Los Altos. A reception will be immediately following in the church parish hall. The Family desires that all donations be made in Bobbie’s name as follows: 1.) Festival of Lights Parade Association P.O. Box 996 Los Altos, CA 94023 [email protected] 2.) Pathways Home Health and Hospice 585 N. Mary Avenue Sunnyvale, California 94085