John Huston 1945-2022
In fond memory of our good friend and colleague by Jordan Green, John Mactaggart and Jim Kalokerinos, Australia.
John Huston was a pioneer of the USA Angel investor community. A leader, teacher and thinker whose generosity with his time, advice and encouragement was a shining example of the collegiate, collaborative spirit that gave life to the Angel group community.
We became friends when John was among the first to welcome our participation in the USA Angel community. Not long after, he began to enjoy his own outreach to engage with our Angel community in Australia and, similarly, in other countries.
John leading a training workshop on being an Angel director. Melbourne 2014
Known by many for his penchant for bow ties, I was amused to learn that after a lifetime in the banking industry as CEO of some of the most important banks in the USA, John’s fascination with bow ties came only in retirement. So, it was absolutely not that he was adhering to an archaic stereotype of the banker. He and I (Jordan) had quite some fun walking the high fashion men’s stores in fashionable shopping areas of Melbourne looking for just the right bow tie he could have as a souvenir of his first visit with us.
John was well known for his pithy and entertaining sayings, his Hustonisms, as collected in a limited-edition book he shared with each of us. Across the world one of the most often quoted Hustonisms is:
“Until the exit, we’re just donors. We only become investors when we get more than our money back.”
John with Jordan and members of Melbourne Angels. Winery tour Melbourne 2014
The support and advice, insights and inspiration that John provided have driven a generation of investors to improve their thinking and their returns. His extraordinary success in conceiving, creating and sustaining the Ohio Tech Angel Fund (OTAF) was something he was more than willing to share to help others emulate his success in other locales.
In training John had a particular penchant for governance and the tremendous impact one could have through relevant, appropriate and honourable stewardship of the companies in which we invest. From the perspective of an Angel being an experienced business person, John said,
“Angel Directors teach new dogs old tricks”.
Even more importantly, John taught many Angel investors and founders around the world how to effectively implement successful governance to strategically guide a start-up towards success.
While we are remembering John, he never claimed to stand alone. John always acknowledged and respected his comrades and colleagues with whom he worked. His achievements were not for him, they were for the community he served. Whether that was his deep dedication to his family, his deep commitment to his own Angel group (OTAF), his enthusiastic leadership of his national community as President of ACA (Angel Capital Association, USA), or his generous collaboration with us and other international peers.
If you spent more than a few minutes chatting with John you would learn that he was a dedicated family man and it has been our privilege to benefit from the insights and bright wit of Lizzie, his high-school sweetheart and wife of 54 years, who frequently accompanied him to Angel gatherings. Together John and Lizzie raised a daughter, Heather, and a son, John (John Oliver Huston IV) who in turn have blessed the family with four grandchildren.
To Lizzie, Heather, Jay and all of his extended family we send our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathy for the sad loss of your husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and cousin. We hope it will help to know that John Oliver Huston III was known, respected, valued and admired around the world as a truly good man, an honourable man, a friend and an inspiration.[Family obituary can be found online]