Eileen Fagan Huston 1957
Posted Apr 28, 2023
Eileen Fagan Huston ’57 died March 27th, 2023. Eileen was born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania on April 27th, 1935, to the late William Ernest Fagan Sr. and Helen Genevieve (Milligan) Fagan. Eileen attended Otterbein College and earned a Bachelor of Art in Music Education. At Otterbein she was in the Sigma Alpha Tau (Owls) sorority and choir. While in college, in addition to her own studies, she accompanied many students’ vocal lessons (for which she was paid) and recitals. It was in the college bookstore at Otterbein that Eileen met Ted Huston ’57, and they married after graduation.
Eileen’s love of music started at age 3 when she would sit at the family piano and pick out tunes. When she was 5 or 6, she and her father began playing duets (Eileen on piano, her dad on mandolin). She had her first paid musician work at the age of 14 when she took on a job as an organist in the Blairsville Presbyterian Church. While in high school, she was busy with band and with accompanying many musical events. She was also the accompanist for the Western Pennsylvania District Honors Choir and once had the privilege of accompanying Shirley Jones when she came to her high school. One of the many gifts Eileen had was perfect pitch, and her college choir director would rely on her to hum the tuning note at concerts. Another gift was her ability to instantly transpose music to a different key as it was being played. To top it off, her ability to improvise was unmatched.
Eileen stayed in central Ohio while Ted attended medical school at OSU and she taught elementary music in the public schools in South Mifflin and East Linden. She also had a job as organist/choir director at the St.Clair Presbyterian Church on Cleveland Ave. As their family started to grow, Eileen left her school teaching but taught private piano lessons in her home, continued work as organist for her church, and took on too-many-to-count paid accompanist jobs. After her husband, Ted, completed his internal medicine residency program, he served in the Army and was stationed in Carlisle, PA, and Eileen devoted herself to being a mother and an Army wife. After her husband completed his Army obligation, he went to the Cleveland Clinic for a cardiology fellowship and subsequent staff position. While in Cleveland, Eileen was organist/choir director at Church of the Redeemer in Cleveland Heights. When her husband was offered a position as Medical Director for Heart Services at Riverside Methodist Hospital, the family returned to Columbus. As her children grew older, Eileen participated more with local performing groups, where she was highly valued as a collaborative pianist. She accompanied many high school students for solo and ensemble contests, played multiple programs with Columbus Light Opera, performed in concerts with vocalist Roberta Ricci in Kansas City, KS and Naples, FL, and she performed three years each for the Lake George Opera in Saratoga Springs, NY and The Florentine Opera in Milwaukee, WI. For many years she also participated in the Opera in the School’s program with Opera Columbus. Additionally, one of her greatest joys was being a part of the many concerts and recording sessions with her long-time friend and performer, Johnny Steiner ’96.
Eileen returned to Otterbein as an adjunct professor in the Music Department. There she accompanied students, faculty, musical theatre auditions, as well as giving her own yearly faculty recitals. For several years Eileen also worked as staff accompanist at Capitol University. While at Otterbein, she took the unique opportunity to be the co-musical director (and performer!) in two summer theatre productions: Forever Plaid and The 1940’s Radio Hour.
Eileen is survived by her loving husband, John Theodore (Ted) Huston ’57; children Robert (Terrie) Huston, Carol ’85 (Brian ’85) Driver, and John’89 (Lisa Rindfuss ’88) Huston. Eileen is also survived by grandchildren Scott (Angie) Huston, Sarah (Matt) Stevenson, Timothy (Shelby) Driver, Benjamin (Katherine)Driver, Samuel (Hayley) Driver, Brianna (Victor) Gulyassy, Emily Driver, Daisy (Pete) Duhl, and Connor Huston, as well as by great-grandchildren Emilia Huston, Zoey Stevenson, Isabella Driver, Jackson Driver, Landan Duhl, and Lynley Duhl. Also surviving is nephew Michael Huston ’86.
Along with her parents, Eileen is predeceased by her in-laws James Huston ’32 and Zoe Seitzer Huston ’30.