Frank Houck(1915 - 2013)

FRANK WILLIAM HOUCK October 11, 1915 - September 24, 2013 Frank was born October 11, 1915, in Christian County, Illinois on their farmstead to William J. and Anna E. (Adams) Houck. Frank had one brother, M. Dale, and one sister, Irene. Frank is predeceased by his Father, Mother, and Sister. Frank began his early life in humble surroundings living primarily on his family farm income. He was tempered by the Great Depression of the late 1920s and 1930s, living mostly "hand to mouth." He was educated through high school in the Nokomis, Illinois, public school system, where he earned his diploma. In the mid-1930s he attended the University of Illinois, graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1940. Towards the end of his undergraduate education, he met Miss Nellie Mae Ratcliffe ("Ned") of Olney, Illinois, and was smitten by her. The couple was married September 2, 1939, in Ned 's hometown of Olney, Illinois. Frank often remarked that they were married one day after the start of World War II in Europe. Frank entered the U.S. Army as a Captain in December, 1941, and mustered out as a Major. During his tour of duty he attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University to study the advanced art of "radar" and other topics. Most of his tour was stateside, including a stint at Ft. Monroe, Virginia, where he taught radar and other topics. However, he experienced one tour of duty toward the end of the war in the Philippine Islands readying himself for the invasion of Japan, and pulling other shenanigans. Following his discharge, he briefly worked for the Commonwealth Edison Company of Chicago. In 1947, he joined the University of Illinois in Chicago as Superintendent of Utilities. From that time until the early 1960s, Frank advanced his career with the University of Illinois to the point of being in charge of the Operations and Maintenance for multiple campuses. In the early 1960s, he was tapped by the school 's administration to lead the opening of the new campus now known as the University of Illinois at Chicago. He continued his role as Director of Physical Plant for all the U. of I. Chicago Campuses until his retirement in 1979. Frank was always involved in civic affairs during his working career and afterwards. He was appointed and then elected Commissioner of Streets and Improvements in Downers Grove, Illinois. He subsequently was elected Mayor for two four-year terms. He worked on numerous governmental boards and was very active in the Republican Party for this area of Illinois. He became active in Boy and Explorer Scouts for several years. He became active in First Presbyterian Church in Downers Grove, and oversaw the building of a new church. Eventually, he rose to being an Elder in that church. Frank and Ned moved to the Buffalo, Missouri, area in the winter of 1979, avoiding yet another Chicago snowstorm. They immediately became active in both civic and social affairs in the area. The couple was instrumental in the development of the Grace Community Methodist Church in Buffalo, Missouri. Frank also served on the Board of Directors for the O 'Bannon Bank. Frank was preceded by Ned into the Life Everlasting in 2004. Frank is survived by his brother, Dale, of Witt, Illinois. He is also survived by his son, John David, (Linda Jamison) in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and daughter, Nan H. Rothfuss, (Henry L.) in Newport News, Virginia. Frank has two granddaughters, and three great grandchildren, plus numerous nephews and nieces.

Published in Suburban Life Publications on Oct. 9, 2013