Bill Houghton

August 22, 1928 - May 22, 2020

William Mahlan Houghton, Sr, better known as the Cadillac man, died Friday, May 22, 2020 of natural causes.  Born in Eustis, FL, Bill was a lifelong resident of Ft Myers.  He began selling Cadillacs in 1947, when he was 19, at Hough Chevrolet Cadillac in downtown Ft Myers.  Bill knew everybody in town and always had a smile on his face. He sold cars to generations of local families and families that bought all their cars from Bill. (Like Coley Westbrook, who bought her very first car and her last car from Bill).  The Cadillac man won many sales awards and was made a lifetime member of the Cadillac Crest Club by General Motors. Bill retired from Val Ward Cadillac at the age of 88.

He graduated from Ft Myers High, where he met the love of his life, Mary Frances, in the 10th grade.  They were married for 72 years before she passed away in 2019.  Bill was a family man and loved the water. He was an avid fisherman, spending many hours on his boat and in St James City where he spent lots of weekends and summers with his family.

Bill is survived by his three loving children, Martha Brookshire (David) of NY, NY, Mahlan Houghton Jr (Paula) of Ft Myers, Mark Houghton (Kim) of Ft Myers; seven grandchildren; as well as nine great-grandchildren.

Bill was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Frances; daughter, Marcia Karen Houghton; parents, Effie and Lester Houghton; brother, Lester and sister, Eleanor Bowerman.

In light of the uncertainty and social distancing no services are planned at this time.

Bill taught so many people to fish over the years, the family is asking in lieu of flowers to make a donation in Bill’s name to: Captains for Clean Water at

Mullins Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Fort Myers, is entrusted with final care.


  1. Dave Coven May 28, 2020 at 10:27 am

    The world lost an amazing man. I am grateful for the many wonderful memories. I love you uncle Bill. Say hi to Grandpa for me.

  2. Mark May 28, 2020 at 11:10 am

    Dad you were an awesome father and a great role model for me in so many ways. You touched a lot of lives along your way and will be missed by all. I’m glad you’re with mom now but I know you’ll be next to me every time I’m at the grouper hole.
    I Love You Dad

  3. Myra Settle May 28, 2020 at 11:37 am

    Uncle Bill, so many memories of you, and all of them include laughter. Joy is found because we are positive you are in Heaven, and with Aunt Frances. Thank you for your love and the wonderful Godly example! You will be dearly missed and always loved

  4. George Field May 28, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    Bill I got to know you through family members and you sure are loved by countless people and made a difference in people’s lives.

  5. Gary Musselman May 28, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    bill No words can express the wonderful friendship we shared.You were a great person and father.I really only new Mark and Mahlan both a reflection of you. And the life you lived.God bless!!!!!!!

  6. melanie werley May 28, 2020 at 3:43 pm

    Love you Uncle Bill!

  7. Bruce Miller May 28, 2020 at 5:22 pm

    That smile from the “Cadillac man” says it all. Loved Uncle Bill & Aunt Francis!

  8. Amber Heape May 28, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    We will miss Uncle Bill’s infectious smile, contagious laugh, and love for good ice cream! There was nothing like grouper that he caught and Aunt Frances fried! We are glad to know they are together again!
    Brian, Amber, Emily, and Ellie

  9. Marilyn Berry May 28, 2020 at 5:38 pm

    Uncle Bill was certainly a wonderful man. He always had a smile and was kind, helpful, and encouraging to our family and others. He loved taking us out in his boat when we visited Ft.Myers and we always had a great time. I sure will miss him, but I am sure he and Aunt Frances are having a great reunion in Heaven. I will always remember eating ice cream from Love Boat with him every time we visited, and those times and memories are priceless- he loved ice cream! I’m blessed by him being my uncle!

  10. Bernie Eagleston May 29, 2020 at 5:57 am

    Bill was a very genuine down to earth guy and the best friend you could ever hope to have. We shared many laughs over the years and a strong friendship that I will always cherish. His smile would light up a room like no other and his phrase “whatever’s fair” are words to live by!
    I’ll miss seeing his smiling face and his great sense of humor.
    Love you my friend and I’m glad you’re finally back together with the love of your life Francis ♥️

  11. Sydney D'Alessandro May 29, 2020 at 6:06 am

    Bill was such a honest, hardworking gentleman. He sold my mom and dad their cadillacs over the years. He had such a love of God, family and work. Bill will be missed. Sydney Parnell D’Alessandro

  12. JIM GEDRA May 29, 2020 at 9:00 am

    I worked with Bill for several years as well as enjoyed fishing with him. He was one of the finest individuals I had the pleasure of getting to know.

  13. Dave Bliley May 29, 2020 at 9:45 am

    Bill became an acquaintance of mine in the early 1970’s and a great friend and coworker shortly afterward. We were part of the Val Ward Cadillac sales team for many years. As so many have mentioned, his laugh, and his beaming smile brightened everyone’s day. As the patriarch of the Houghtons he and Frances created wonderful, loving, dedicated children who in turn kept up those family traditions. Bill, we love you and we miss you.

  14. Catherine DeGrasse May 29, 2020 at 11:30 am

    I met Bill and Frances through my son, Bernard Eagleston. I live in the D.C. area and they both wanted to meet “Bernie’s Mother” when she next visited. The rest is history. We had many good times with them. Really warm and thoughtful people! When Frances died in 2019, Bill was lost. He and my son became even closer if that is possible. As Bill aged, my son Bernie, made adjustments and still took Bill to lunch and to the Cadillac dealership. He loved Bill and Bill loved him. As Bernie’s mother, I too was accepted as a friend. I will miss Bill a lot.

  15. Dalton Drake May 29, 2020 at 11:42 am

    Mahlan and Mark, prayers sent to you and extended families. Only met your dad once when I bought my first Cadillac.
    He was such a gentleman and will be missed by many.

  16. Stephanie Sirianni May 29, 2020 at 11:58 am

    Bill touched many lives such as ours. He was a great friend. Mom thought the world of Bill and Frances. She looked so forward to seeing them at church every Sunday. We will miss your infectious smile and laughter. Our thoughts and prayers to the entire family. Bill and Frances are together again. Love, The Sirianni’s (Margaret, Sammy and Stephanie)

  17. Van R. Speas May 29, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    I never met Bill but appreciate my friendship with Mahlon, Paula and Brittany developed through softball. I am sure he was together with us in spirit during those many days we spent on bleachers in Lee County. A son is a reflection of the father and knowing you, Mahlon, I feel I knew him as well.
    My thoughts and prayers are with the whole Houghton family at this time of grief.

  18. Doris Carner May 29, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    My sympathy to the family especially Mahlan and Paula

  19. Richard Leatherwood May 29, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    when that man talked I always listened, he was a legend. going to miss him dearly. rest in peace sir…..

  20. Bev & Bob Duff May 29, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    Dear Houghton Family, Our deepest Sympathies on the passing of your father! He has been a wonderful man, father and friend to many. It’s been our greatest pleasure to be a neighbor and friend. NOW Bill is forever fishing and enjoying the love of his life, Frances. He leaves a wonderful legacy of children and grandchildren to treasurer his memory. May the peace that comes from the memories of love shared comfort you now and in the days ahead.

  21. Myrna Hagin May 29, 2020 at 9:58 pm

    What can I say about a kind, loving, dear friend that sent my Connie and Jennifer fresh grouper as a children , then sold my family their cars for years. Please sit, hold Frans hand and enjoy your rest. I miss already the many visits we had and that smile when I came to the door. My love to the family I have grown to cherish.

  22. Lydia Lowell Sherman May 30, 2020 at 7:41 am

    So very sorry Martha and family for your loss of William Mahlan Houghton, Sr, better known as the Cadillac man. What a wonderful legacy of love. 😥 love 💕 to your family.

  23. Katherine Simpson May 30, 2020 at 9:12 am

    Happy memories of your Dad for each of you. What a great person and a smile that will always linger. Love and heart felt thoughts to each of you.
    Katherine B Simpson

  24. Westen LaBrue Jun 2, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    Bill and Houghton family what such a great family to have had in my life what a great imperation to me. The father he was along with Fran to set such a great example to the community in fortmyers showing us all that no matter what you keep on pushing don’t give up I’m am grateful that I knew this man every time I had a rough day he would show up and smile and say Wes it will all work it’s self out! Fran was such a wonderful women to have known both of the for all the years was a pleasure and the children they had such great people to all of the family members I meet through Mahlan into grandchildren what a blessing I hope today that I can look up knowing the two of them are living such a great spiritual life together miss all of you guys and miss you Fran and bill love Westen LaBrue

  25. Edd and Barb Switlik Jun 7, 2020 at 8:39 am

    Wonderful memories. Bill and Fran will always have a special place in our hearts.

  26. Evelyn Strader Jun 7, 2020 at 9:51 am

    Mr. Houghton was a wonderful man.

    Love and prayers go out to Mahlan and Paula.

  27. Nowell family Jun 11, 2020 at 9:03 am

    Bill was a wonderful man. The legacy he leaves behind cannot be fully expressed in words. His love and kindness will continue to shine through his family. We send hugs and prayers to Mark, Kim and Charlie, and to the rest of the Houghton family.

  28. Benjamin Paul Marcoux Oct 22, 2020 at 5:42 pm

    What a man !!! He was so simple in his ways BUT very dedicated to his work and his family!
    When a man such as Bill Houghton leaves the earth it leaves a BIG VOID to be filled.
    A great boatsman and fisherman! So much fun to be with !
    I will always remember him !
    Already missing you Bill BUT, I know you are enjoying HEAVEN with God , Jesus, and the Holy Spirit !
    Benjamin P Marcoux

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