Dr. William “Huston” McLendon of Leeds, Alabama, lived fully for 92 years until his passing on Oct 7, 2023. He was born on January 5, 1931, in the Eastlake neighborhood of Birmingham to Thomas Simeon McLendon and Maxium Amanda Thomas McLendon. He mentioned in his letters that he grew up with patches on his clothes, but never dirt. He said that nothing pleased him more than to put in a hard day’s work and to be needed.
In 1956 he married Alice Elizabeth Gray of Ensley (1933-2011). They were married for 55 years. In 2000 he wrote, “After you are married 44 years, you realize that the heady passion of early days is not like the lasting love of shared joy, sorrow, dreams realized, and failures comforted that create a love, respect, and unbreakable bond far beyond physical attraction and passions. There are many types of love, and as one matures so does your love, not leaving behind the other loves but building on it.” Alice and Huston had four children.
Huston is preceded in death by his sons Daniel Gray McLendon and William H. “Bill” McLendon, Jr. (Jacki). He is survived by daughter Robin Anne McLendon, son Patrick Thomas McLendon (Heidi Moos), his grandchildren Maddy (Bill), Connor (Bill), Logan (Patrick), Jean (Patrick), and his sister Eula Mae Hinton.
Huston graduated from Woodlawn High School in 1949 where he served as Senior Class President. After high school he worked and took night classes at Samford University until 1952, when he was drafted into the United States Marine Corps. Huston served two years in the Korean War, receiving the Purple Heart and other commendations. He believed “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” He was grateful to the Corps for teaching him that he had the physical and mental toughness to achieve anything to which he set his will.
After returning from the War, he completed his undergraduate degree and attended Dental School at the University of Alabama Extension in Birmingham (now UAB School of Dentistry). He completed Dental School in 1960 and practiced in Crestwood for 37 years.
Huston will be remembered as a man who could not sit still. He always wanted a project, an adventure, and a good laugh. He was active in the Optimists Club, US Coast Guard Auxiliary, US Power Squadron, and volunteered in local schools including his grandchildren’s. He once bet a friend $100, for a local charity, that he could win the Vulcan Run in his age category. He ran as Santa Clause, had a trophy made for the “500 Year and Older” category, and “Santa” was featured in the Birmingham News.
Huston loved the smell of sawdust and concrete. He built a fifty-acre horse farm in Blount County, refurbished half a dozen lake houses, built many piers, seawalls, and boathouses, and rehabilitated at least thirty boats. In his retirement, he created pottery and stained glass with accompanying stories and poems.
There are 1,000 stories we could tell about Huston McLendon, all true, and some you might even believe. Dr. McLendon’s brand of perpetual motion was to credit for his long and healthy life. At 92, he lived independently, had an active social life, continued to drive, loved his family, and enjoyed corny dad jokes. Huston was called Dad, Doc, Granddaddy, and Dadu, He said you could call him anything but late to supper.
We should all be so lucky.
In accordance with his instructions, he will be cremated, and his ashes spread with Alice’s in one of their favorite spots. A small, private memorial will be held for close friends and family. In lieu of flowers, and in honor of Huston’s love for Alabama’s natural beauty, lakes, and rivers, donations may be made to the Freshwater Land Trust.
Freshwater Land Trust
Attn: Tina Simonton
PO Box 337
Birmingham, AL 35201