Large image
His Life

Loren Henry Houtman Memorial

April 14, 2017

Loren Henry Houtman was born March 8, 1929, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the second of two children born to Mae (Henry) Houtman and Henry (Heinie) Houtman.  After graduating from Grand Rapids South High School in 1947, he attended Michigan State University and received a Master’s degree in Math in 1956 and began teaching math at Grosse Pointe High School, where he met Lynette Oelz of Benton Harbor in the teachers’ lounge.   After a whirlwind courtship, they were married on December 22 of that same year at Saron Lutheran Church of St. Joseph, Michigan.

Loren served from 1951-55 in the U.S. Naval Air Force and then from 1955-1963 in the Naval Reserves.

Both Loren and Lyn continued to teach at Grosse Pointe High School and started a family, welcoming first Dirck Jeffrey Houtman (of Rock Island, Ill.), followed by Gordon Houtman (of Alexandria, Va.) and finally Kirsten Houtman (of Madison, Wisc.).  Meanwhile, Loren pursued and was granted a doctorate in Psychology with the support of his wife (who was an English-Spanish teacher by profession) and family.

Loren loved many things, utmost of which were reading and discussing philosophy, history and education.  He was a great admirer of John Dewey, philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer.  Loren taught at Tusculum College in East Tennessee, at Baldwin Wallace in Berea, Ohio, finished his career living in Coal Valley and teaching for Western Illinois University at the Quad City Graduate Center, where he thrilled at his ability to help train and inspire young teachers.  Loren and Lyn made the Quad-Cities their home, living there for 27 years and raising their children to adulthood there.

Loren was an active member and served on the board of the Unitarian Church in Davenport, Ia.  He was a member of Peoples Church in Ludington, Mich.   Loren was a proponent of free speech, freedom of religion, and a firm advocate for civil rights.  He served for multiple years on the ACLU board of Illinois. 

Loren’s father Henry took his young son camping and fishing on the Pine River in Michigan from a young age.  This instilled Loren with a life-long love of nature.  It wasn’t then a surprise that Lyn and Loren’s family summer vacations generally included a nine-day camping trip to the Manistee National Forest, but also included special trips such as camping trips out West and South.  To the Badlands and to Yellowstone.  Later, as a couple, Lyn and Loren often camped at Devil’s Lake Campground in Baraboo, Wisc., and enjoyed sleuthing for the best cheeses Wisconsin had to offer, as well as relaxing and hiking.   Additionally, abetted by Lyn’s love of travel, the couple took trips abroad to Europe, Portugal, Mexico and Columbia and spent three weeks traveling Japan when their   daughter, Kirsten, lived there.

It was fitting that when Loren and Lyn chose to retire in 1998, they chose Manistee, Michigan, a place 20 minutes down the road from the camping area and the Lake that they both loved.  Loren enjoyed jazz and theater and in Manistee, he supported the Ramsdell Theatre, the Manistee Civic Players, Manistee ShoreLine ShowCase, and the Manistee County Historical Society.   He also enjoyed playing bridge, watching, attending and participating in sports and social events with friends, neighbors and family.

Loren was preceded in death by his parents as well as his sister Marilyn Minich and her husband, Dr. William Minich, of Mequon, Wisc.

His survivors include:  his wife Lyn of 60 years; his children, Dirck Jeffrey; Gordon (with wife, Oryza and daughter, Marilyn); Kirsten (and two furry pit bull terriers, Genmai-cha and Kumo-cha); Gordon’s former spouse, Dana Mayo Houtman(of Lynchburg, Va.) and Kirsten’s former spouse, Kazuya Watanabe (with two grand dogs, Momo and Azuki (all of Madison, Wisc.))

On his side of the family, he is survived by cousins Marie (Philip) Huizenga of Ada, Mich.; Betty (Dr. Philip Kamps) of Gallup, N.M.; Art Brown (Caroline) of Columbus, N.C.; Russ Brown; Jackie Kraai of Naples, Fl.; Susan(Dr. Eugene) Corbett of Palmyra, Va.; George (Lorry) Houtman of San Antonio, Tx. and many nieces and nephews. 

On Lyn’s side of the family, he is survived by Carole (Robert) Nichols of Naples, Fl. and Greenwich, CT.; Erling Oelz of Missoula, Mt.; Susan Jones of Tequesta, Fl.; David(Nancy) Oelz of Littleton, Co; Michael (Lynda) Oelz of Matthews, N.C. and; Lucia Scully Oelz (the spouse of Lyn’s brother Ralph who preceded Loren in death) of  Walloon Lake, Mich., as well as many nieces and nephews

He is also survived by long-time friends, Norm and Marge Tubbs of Grand Rapids, MI and Janet and Harold Walker of Kent, OH.

Cremation has taken place. There will be no memorial service.

Memorials may be made to: 
the ACLU of the U.S.;
Manistee ShoreLine ShowCase (summer jazz concert series) or the 
Unitarian Universalist Church of the Quad-Cities in Davenport, Ia. 

Thank you to Loren for a life well-lived.
You were loved and continue in our memories.