Ivan J. Houston is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. He entered the University in 1942, left to serve in the army from 1943 until 1945, and returned to receive his B.S. degree in 1948. From 1970 to 1990, he served as the chief executive officer of the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company, one of the nation’s largest African American businesses, and named one of the 100 Most Influential Black Americans by Ebony magazine.
Mr. Houston has served on many corporate boards, including Pacific Telesis Corporation, Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation, First Interstate Bank and Metromedia. In service to his community, he has been a member of the board of Regents of Loyola Marymount University, a trustee of the Claremont Colleges, the Catholic University of America, the Golden State Minority Foundation, and a member of the business advisory board of both the UC Berkeley Business School and the Anderson School of Management at UCLA. He has served as president of the Los Angeles City Human Relations Commission, as chairman of the Los Angeles Urban League, and as trustee for the National Urban League. He has also been a board member of the American College of Life Underwriters and served as chairman of the Life Office Management Association.
Mr. Houston holds an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of La Verne, the Brotherhood Award from the National Council of Christians and Jews, and the Cardinal’s Award from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Pope John Paul II named him a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great. In Italy, he became a knight of Sacred Military Order of Constantine of Giorgio Delegation of Tuscany.
The first book was BLACK WARRIORS: THE BUFFALO SOLDIIERS OF WORLD WAR II. A documentary film: WITH ONE TIED HAND, about his return to Italy has also been produced and is available for viewing on this website. Mr. Houston’s final book, BLACK WARRIORS: THE RETURN OF THE BUFFALO SOLDIER, highlights his many visits to Italy and many accolades that he has received as a retuning Buffalo soldier and the many thanks and praises of a grateful nation. This was written by Mr. Houston, and completed by his family in 2023.
Ivan J. Houston passed away on March 1st 2020 after his last visit to Italy.