Remembering Jackie Lee Houston: 1935-2011

Jaffa King

Remembering Jackie Lee Houston: 1935-2011

CREATED Sep. 14, 2011

PALM SPRINGS - Sad news to pass along the passing of a Palm Springs philanthropist.

Jackie Lee Houston died Wednesday morning after suffering a stroke.

The 76 year old has touched the lives of thousands of people across the Coachella Valley.

A star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars cements her status as a valley socialite, Jackie Lee Houston died early Wednesday morning at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage after suffering a stroke.

Houston, who was also battling pancreatic cancer was 76 years old. Houston - known for her big heart and giving ways lived in Palm Springs with her husband Jim.

The Houstons supported many charities including the Aids Assistance Program and the Find Food Bank.
Houston also instrumental in helping the Stroke Recovery Center and the Angel View Crippled Children's Hospital.
In 2009, the city of Palm Springs paid tribute to Houston by dedicating Jackie Lee Houston Plaza in her honor. The plaza sits behind the Convention Center which hosts the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Houston was a Vice Chairman of the festival.
Last year, Mayor Pougnet named Houston the city's guardian angel of the Palm Springs Festival Of Lights Parade. Mayor Pougnet has requested that this year's 20th Annual Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade be held in Houston's honor.
A condolence book will be available for residents to pay tribute to Houston at the Palm Springs Public Library.

Houston is survived by her husband, children and grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Harold Matzner, Chairman of the Palm Springs International Film Festival, said, "Jackie Lee Houston is Vice Chairman of the Festival and has chaired the Festival's Awards Gala since its infancy.  A lady of great taste and enormous generosity, Jackie Lee's leadership brought the Gala to an extraordinary level of national attention and industry recognition.  She paid attention to its every detail and was already working on the theme for the January 2012 Gala.  The extraordinary success of both the Festival and the Gala would not have been possible without Jackie Lee's very capable and generous leadership.  I will deeply miss her as will the entire Festival team."

Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA-45) released the following statement after learning of the passing of Mrs. Jackie Lee Houston of Palm Springs:
"I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Jackie Lee, and I offer my deepest condolences to her husband, Jim, and her entire family.  Jackie Lee touched the lives of so many in our community, and I am honored to have called her a dear friend.

"Jackie Lee was a tireless advocate for so many worthwhile causes, and I am especially grateful for her work on the Palm Springs International Film Festival.  Whenever you attended one of Jackie Lee's parties or events, everything was done with class and grace, reflecting her personal touch.  She had the ability to take your breath away with a flair and creativity that set her events apart from all the rest.  Jackie Lee touched countless lives and made our community a far better place.  She was a woman of remarkable poise and strength, with a wonderful sense of humor, and her life was a shining example for all to follow."

"I will never forget how every Halloween, 500 of her closest friends gathered for the 'Howling at the Houston's' party, which she looked forward to every year.  Jackie Lee was a pillar of our community, and the legacy that she leaves will live on through the efforts of her loving husband, Jim, and all those who were inspired by her remarkable life."