Of all the things Herbert G. Houze loved, three stand out – his family, butter tarts, and storytelling.
The story of his life began on April 18, 1947, in Brockville, Ontario, Canada, as the youngest of three boys born to Dr. McLean and Grace Houze. It was during his childhood in Ontario where he found that he loved firearms, as well as testing boundaries, including the time he jumped a train with his brothers and, failing to jump off when they did, rode to the next town where he waited for his parents to pick him up.
After finishing both his time in the military and college at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, he moved to the U.S. where he completed his master’s degree at George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. There he met his first wife, Lynn Johnson, with whom he shares three children Jennifer, Alec and Andrew.
Following a stint at the Chicago Historical Society, they settled in Cody where Herb was the curator for the Winchester Arms Museum, now the Cody Firearms Museum. He and Lynn divorced in 1990 and in 1996, Herb married Christine Reinhard. Instead of children, they had dogs. Their current family includes Sunny and Gus.
Herb turned his passion for arms and armor into his career and after leaving the Cody Firearms Museum, he concentrated full time on his writing, finishing more than 25 books (one of which is yet to be published) and more than 100 articles.
He was the world’s foremost historical firearms expert and his work focused on gun makers, engravers, and different firearm models.
He served as Chairman for the Arms and Armor Vetting Committee 1990-2000 at the International Fine Arts and Antique Dealers Association and a member of the Antique Jewelry, Faberge, and Gold Boxes and Arms and Armor vetting committees for the New York Winter Antiques Show 1994-2000.
From December 2004 to January 2007, Herb was the Guest Curator for “Samuel Colt: Arms, Art & Invention,” which was held at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Conn. More recently, he had been named Curator Emeritus of the Cody Firearms Museum and Co-Curator for “The Art of the Hunt” at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
Herb loved spending time with his family and friends and was well known for meals that lasted hours while he regaled them with tales of his past, one of which was how, as child, he was “nominated” to dislodge a pop bottle at the top of a 50-foot conveyor belt in a quarry; he made it up to the top, but not back down and another call to his parents was made.
Herb’s story ended on Aug. 24, 2019, at the age of 72. Beside his work, his legacy includes his family and close friends: wife Christine of Cody; daughter Jennifer (Chris Eritano) of Madison Heights, Mich., sons Alec and Andrew, both of Cody; grandchildren Emilie and Max Eritano, Hadrian and Grey Houze, and Azalia Houze; brothers Bevan (Gail, the maker of Herb’s favorite butter tarts) of Tillsonburg, Ontario and Graham of Morrisburg, Ontario; and friends Joe Salter of Sydney, N.S. and Stuart Mowbray of Woonsocket, R.I.
A family service will be held later this fall in Ontario, as cremation has taken place. Memorial donations can be made to the Park County Animal Shelter, P.O. Box 203, Cody, WY, 82414.