Jim Houck was born on February 21, 1906 in Walkersville, MD, and lived a life of accomplishment through service to others.
In 1930, Jim committed to the Oxford Group, a Christian Fellowship organization where, on December 12, 1934, he met Bill Wilson, who would later organize Alcoholics Anonymous. The ethical precepts of the Oxford Group – the Four Standards of Honesty, Purity, Unselfishness and Love and the Four Steps of Surrender, Sharing Restitution and Guidance – became the foundation of his life. The Oxford Group changed Jim’s life and set him on the path of changing the lives of countless others. A 2004 Time Magazine article about Jim quotes his mission to “put right what’s wrong in your life.”
Jim first joined Rotary in 1948 and was a member of the Towson and Timonium clubs. Because of Jim’s commitment to the Four Standards and the Four Steps of the Oxford Group, he felt a special affinity for the Four-Way Test, the set of principles intended to guide the conduct of Rotarians everywhere. Jim knew the Four-Way Test must teach kids as well as adults. In 1968, through the Timonium Rotary, Jim initiated a Four-Way Test poster contest in St. Stephen School, a nearby Catholic elementary school. He later established a Four-Way Test oratorical contest at Dulaney High School. Currently, over fourteen school participate in the program, and the Rotary District for Maryland and the District of Columbia (7620) has adopted the oratorical contest as a district-wide activity.
Jim transferred to the Rotary Club of Hunt Valley in 1993 and later served as president. Jim has been recognized by many for his accomplishments, and in 1999 Rotary International awarded him its highest award, the “Service Above Self” award.
On July 30, 2006, Jim passed away at the age of 100.