John Houghton Jr.
John Houghton Jr., age 77 of Wisconsin Dells, passed away Monday, May 1, 2017 at St Clare Hospice House in Baraboo, WI.
A Celebration of John’s life will be held on Friday, May 19, 2017 at the Kilbourn Public Library, 620 Elm Street in Wisconsin Dells. The celebration will begin at 10:00 a.m. with a memorial service at 11:00 a.m. and a luncheon to follow from 11:30a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
John was born July 27, 1939, the son of Dr. John and Elsie (Tyrell) Houghton. He spent most of his life in Wisconsin Dells, with a brief side track into the U.S. Army Special Operations from 1959 to 1962. While he rarely spoke of his service in his younger days, he was incredibly proud of his years in Korea and Taiwan and was recognized for his service in a special pinning ceremony a few weeks before his passing. After his army service, he attended college at UW Stevens Point, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree and where he met his best friend, Echo Krueger. John and Echo were married in Steven’s Point, January 22, 1966, before they went on to student teaching together in their last semester.
John kept himself busy by teaching social studies at Julia Rusch Junior High School in Portage, and spending summers going to graduate school. After retiring from teaching, he worked at area golf courses and joined Echo working at Land’s End in Reedsburg. He enjoyed going to work every day, and at the end of each day, he looked forward to coming home to his house in the woods where he and Echo raised their children. They would sit on the porch with a cup of coffee and watch the deer and turkeys.
He told his grandchildren that if they found a career they loved, they would never work a day in their lives. Perhaps the greatest lesson he taught, was to enjoy life.
John spent the last few years at the always fun “senior dorm” on Wisconsin Avenue where he could look west and see the house he was born in, look east and see the house he grew up in, and look out the north window to see the house he and Echo lived in when they were newlyweds. He liked to joke that he didn’t get very far in life. He loved the Dells and often said he was glad he stayed here.
John is survived by his children, Patricia (Gus) Smerud of Onalaska, Thomas of Tumwater WA, and Mary (Tommy) Harris of Wisconsin Dells; grandchildren Leah, Kenneth (Samantha Welke), and Joseph (Jennifer Carlson) Smerud; great grandson Leif; sister Judy Whittaker of Honolulu, HI; niece Diane Wright of Battle Ground, WA, and special friend Barbara West of Wisconsin Dells. He was preceded in death by his parents and his wonderful wife, Echo.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust or the Columbia County Humane Society.
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