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Community remembers Houghton as philanthropist

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CENTREVILLE — When Nina Houghton, a community leader and philanthropist died in her Chestertown home Sunday, March 15, 2020, the Eastern Shore also lost one of its most active and esteemed benefactors.

Houghton relocated to Maryland following her 1972 marriage to Arthur A. Houghton Jr. Before long, she became a trustee of Wye Institute in 1973. Her involvement in the community soon grew to several trustee posts at Goucher College, a board seat at the Columbus Center in Baltimore, and an advisory group member to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Later in her career, she would join the Board of Visitors at Johns Hopkins Medicine and also the Board of Visitors of the University of Maryland College Park. She served on the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland as well as taking leadership roles at Washington College. Her greatest contribution arguably came when she was appointed as a trustee of the Aspen Institute.

“I met Nina shortly after I joined the institute 16 years ago and she was wonderful match for it since we’re about service to the community,” said Elliot Gerson, executive vice president of the Aspen Institute. “She was whip smart, charming and generous. She was truly dedicated to making our communities better. It was also very clear how dedicated she was to the Eastern Shore since she loved the properties she donated to the institute and she loved her farm.”

Gerson recalled his friend’s warmth and genuine concern in the stories of those around her. According to Gerson, her interest in developing a dialogue on ideas that would benefit society was unmatched. They included discussions on the components of a good society and how to lead such a world.

During her tenure, she is remembered by her colleagues as a woman as generous with her time as with her financial support. In her later years, she was among those who helped finance efforts to collect and publish the history of the Queen Anne’s County.

John W. Sause Jr., retired Queen Anne’s County Circuit Court judge, remembered Houghton as a woman also active in community programs in the county. She was women of “constant” energy, Sause noted, eager to help those seeking an education and to preserve the story of her beloved Eastern Shore.

A well-traveled woman, Houghton maintained residences in Queenstown, Maryland; Chestertown, Maryland; and Fernandina Beach, Florida.

She is survived by her children: Robert H. Horstman, Jeffrey H. Horstman, T. Hale Horstman, and Andrew H. Horstman.

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