The Houstons announce the transition of their beloved family member Cecil Hunter Houston II, also affectionately known as “Vato.” Today the family is celebrating Cecil’s 37th birthday and recognizing the six-month anniversary of his death. In the coming weeks the family will launch, where they will continue to celebrate Cecil’s life and legacy.

Born June 30, 1976, in Brownwood, Texas, Cecil is the only son of Cecil and Mary Loretta Jones Houston. He attended Northwest Elementary, Brownwood Central Sixth, and Brownwood Junior High Schools. During his formative years Cecil developed a love for music, soccer, people and family.

In 1990, the Houston family moved to Atlanta. Cecil attended North Atlanta High School of the Performing Arts, where he developed his gifts and talents in music and soccer and graduated in 1994. Cecil continued to pursue his passion for music at Clark Atlanta University (CAU), graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education in 2000.

An ambassador of music, Cecil worked and served in multiple capacities as a music educator, musician, performer, composer and arranger. At the time of his death Cecil was the Band Director at Maynard Jackson High School in Atlanta. He had also served as the percussion instructor at CAU, band director at Clarke Central High School and band director at Tri-Cities High School. He shared his talents as the percussionist in the Fellowship of Love Church music ministry. Cecil’s credits include performing with the Atlanta Braves’ drum squads the Atlanta Drumline and the Heavy Hitters. A gifted and reputable writer, Cecil also composed and arranged music for marching bands and percussion sections across the US. Cecil even composed cadences for and performed in the movie “Drumline.”

Civically engaged, Cecil was a leader and contributor to many organizations, among them: founding president of the CAU Alumni Music Association, James Earl Acey Masonic Lodge, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, and Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity.

A loving son, affectionate brother, doting father of four incredible boys, devoted husband, cherished extended family member, and loyal friend, Cecil was truly loved. He was funny, fun and a joy to be around. Friends have created a Facebook group page “Remembering Vato” to share memories of Cecil.

Preceding Cecil in Glory are his maternal grandfather, Jimmie Jones of Fort Worth and paternal grandparents, Bennie and Marjorie Houston of Brownwood.

Surviving family include his wife of 10 years, Fantara Johnson Houston; and their four boys, Cecil III (11 years), Christian (10 years), Cahron (7 years) and Colin (5 years) all in Atlanta; grandmother, Izora Cannon Jones of Fort Worth; parents, Cecil and Loretta Houston of Atlanta; sisters, Dr. Ramona Houston and her husband Terreon Gully, Rhonda Houston-Crisp and her husband Eric Crisp, and Dr. Rhesa Houston, all of Atlanta. In-laws include parents, Eugene P. Johnson and Alfreda Oliver Johnson; brother, Eugene H. Johnson Jr.; and sister, Devona Johnson, all of Miami. Cecil also leaves a host of other family members and friends.

Cecil died unexpectedly Dec. 30, 2012, in Atlanta, with no known prior health issues. He collapsed at a friend’s house and never regained consciousness. Cecil’s celebration of life services included several events, among them: “Vato’s 5th Quarter” held at CAU on Jan. 7, 2013, and the funeral held at Elizabeth Baptist Church on Jan. 8, 2013, in Atlanta. Willie Watkins Funeral Home directed the funeral. Cecil is buried at Lincoln Cemetery in Atlanta.

More information about Cecil’s death can also be found on

In lieu of flowers the family is requesting donations to a memorial fund for the children. There are three ways you can contribute.

1) Go to any Wells Fargo banking center across the nation and donate to the Cecil H. Houston Memorial Fund.

2) Make an electronic payment via Pay Pal to the Cecil H. Houston Memorial Fund.

3) Send a check or money order to: ?Cecil H. Houston Memorial Fund? c/o Ramona Houston?, P.O. Box 43003, ?Atlanta, GA 30336.