It is with great sadness that The Huston Foundation family has announced the passing of its President & Chief Executive Officer, Charles L. “Chip” Huston IV, on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022 at age 63. Mr. Huston served the Huston Foundation for over 32 years, with many of those as treasurer. He joined the board of the Huston Foundation in 1990 and became president in May of 2022. During his tenure here, he stewarded many organizations in the community that needed vital funding.
A native son of Phoenixville and resident of Coatesville, Huston was a star player on the Phoenixville High School football team. He went on to Widener University for undergraduate work and St. Joseph’s University, where he earned a master’s degree in business management. His business career was vast and diverse, including such familiar names as Amazon.com, Inc., QVC, Inc., Philadelphia Gear, Lukens Steel, and the City of Coatesville.
Yet perhaps he is most well-known for his position as Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity in Chester County, where he served for 17 years until his retirement in 2019. He took a fledgling organization and had the passion to see what it could be, and how it could help Coatesvillians achieve home ownership.
While at Habitat, Huston was able to hand the keys over to 95 new homeowners in their Cambria Homes (Coatesville) and Fuller Meadows (West Grove) communities. He worked with former President Jimmy Carter at the annual Carter Work Project in Los Angeles. He even traveled to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina with Habitat volunteers to help build three homes for hurricane victims. His skill at interfacing with local businesspeople, non-profits, churches, and civic organizations gave him the ability to move effortlessly among these groups and connect partners along the way.
He was a board member of some of the most ambitious of organizations, including president of the Fairview Cemetery Association (15 years), Good Neighbor Home Repair, The Graystone Society (National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum), the 2nd Century Alliance, YMCA of Brandywine Valley, the Rotary Club (president) of Coatesville, elder at Paoli Presbyterian Church, and coach of many sports leagues.
Huston was the direct descendant of Rebecca Lukens, our nation’s first female industrialist and the founding mother of Lukens Steel. He was the son of Charles L. “Skip” Huston III and Barbara Cruse (deceased) and stepmother, Barbara Scott Huston.
His brother, Scott G. Huston, Executive Director of the Stewart Huston Charitable Trust, President of The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum and the Treasurer of The Huston Foundation, remembers Huston in this way, “Chip loved his family. He loved his friends. And he loved the communities he served, Phoenixville and Coatesville. He loved family history and loved telling the story of Lukens Steel. To say he will be greatly missed is an understatement.”
To know Chip Huston and his larger-than-life personality was to admire him. His knowledge of local history, philanthropy, and business was awe-inspiring. But the true love of his life was his family, wife Linda and daughters Laura and Sarah. Every social media post Huston made reflected his pride and admiration for his two girls and their prowess, in athletics and academics. He was the epitome of a family man. His brothers (Robert and David), as well as his sisters (Barbara and Jeanne), and his half-siblings (Rebecca and Scott), remember him as the fun-loving teen who grew into a sensitive adult.
His aunt, Vice President of Evangelical Relations for the Huston Foundation, Nancy Hansen, and secretary to the board, recalls Huston as a very committed family man and devoted to the community he served. “He was a skilled networker and passionate about his faith in The Lord Jesus, family, and friends. It was wonderful to see how proud Chip was of his wife and his daughters with their academic and athletic achievements. Chip was a servant leader in his family and in the community. He will be sorely missed by all who have known him as a light has gone out in the community but has entered into his heavenly home. We will all miss him as a very vital part of our family.”
Huston will also be remembered for his vision and ability to tell a great story. It was his story-telling passion that proved so valuable to so many organizations in need. Huston was able to share their stories with the right people to garner the necessary funding for these groups. Many non-profits had a true friend in Huston. His absence in Coatesville and Phoenixville will be felt for years to come.
Huston Foundation Board Member, Robert Huston, and brother of Huston, feels the loss deeply. “Our family mourns the loss of our brother. He was an inspiration and our hero. We will miss his humor, laughter, and kindness. We are proud to know that he was loved and appreciated by so many people here in Chester County and beyond.”