Summer 2016 In Memoriam
United Wesleyan College Alumni
Rev. Cecil Brown
Violet (Walton) Goins
Charles ‘Webb’ Johnson
Elsie (Jones) Ours
Patricia A. Sweitzer
Marguerite (Carr) Zulker
Buffalo Bible Institute Alumni
Houghton College Friends
Wilma Jean (Houghton) Rossette died June 19, 2014. She was 77 years old. Wilma Jean was an elementary school teacher for 32 years and a devoted church organist. She was a member of Fellowship Wesleyan Church in West Seneca, New York. In addition, Wilma Jean was a member of the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System, the Eastern Erie Retired Teachers’ Association and the Fern Leaf Reading Club. She is survived by siblings Ruth E. Houghton ’57 and James Houghton, two step-children, and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, James E. Rossette, and her parents, Willard E. Houghton ’35 and Nellie (Cole ’36) Houghton.
Longtime Houghton community member Vernelle Shannon, wife of former chemistry department chair and academic dean Dr. Fred Shannon, died November 21, 2015. Vernelle was a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University and the University of Akron. She served 34 years as a public school teacher, in Akron, Ohio, and Rushford and Fillmore, New York. She spent most of her adult life living in Houghton and was an active member of Houghton Wesleyan Church as well the Houghton Area Senior Citizens group and the Fillmore Central School retired teachers’ group. She is survived by her husband of 58 years, Fred; a son, Dale Shannon ’82 and his wife, Robynn (Kelly ’81) Shannon; four younger sisters; and many nieces and nephews.
Houghton College Former Faculty and Staff
Dr. James E. Barcus Jr., ’60, former professor and division chair of English and speech, died February 20, 2016, after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 77 years old.
If you were a student at Houghton College between 1964 and 1979, Dr. Barcus may have been your first college professor in a Principles of Writing class. The end-of-class pizza party at his house more than made up for all of the hours of sleep you lost typing those papers.
You may remember the day you were introduced to the writings of the Oxford Christians and trace your love of the writings of C.S. Lewis to Dr. Barcus’s mesmerizing lectures. Or maybe you were the junior Biology major who stepped into his office to tell him you were changing your major to English and received the reply, “What took you so long? We’ve been waiting to hear that!”
Perhaps Dr. Barcus was your class advisor, or you knew him through your association with his wife and assistant professor of English, Nancy. You may have admired Houghton’s own “power couple,” affectionately dubbed by some as “The Barci,” and the example they set of how to love well in a marriage could still impact you today.
Mostly, though, you probably remember how Dr. Barcus cared deeply for his students, the way he and Nancy radiated joy in everything they did.
Dr. Barcus is survived by his daughter, Heidi Anne Barcus; his son, James Hans Barcus, and his wife, Carissa; two grandchildren, Caitlyn and Jimmy; a nephew, Jeffrey Thomas, and his daughter, Lauryn; and a sister, Mary (Barcus ’62) Stamp. He was preceded in death by his wife of 44 years, former Assistant Professor of English and the love of his life, Nancy Ellen Barcus.
Horace Emmons, former manager of the East Hall kitchen and dining hall and longtime Houghton community member, passed away on December 19, 2015. He was 96 years old.
With an infectious laugh, that memorable twinkle in his eye, and his booming voice calling out, “Come in! Come in!” Horace Emmons—in his distinctive Maine accent—invited students, family, friends and neighbors to experience the joy of living since his arrival in Houghton in 1963.
Horace and his first wife, Mertice, considered their work in Houghton’s food service to be a calling from God, and they poured their lives into the students who made up their staff. “Mr. and Mrs. E. called us ‘The Loved Ones’ and then ACTED as though they meant it!” exclaimed former student worker, Diane (Lytle ’74) Emmons. “The kitchen was a blessed refuge from the academic world outside: a place to laugh out loud, enjoy some food and receive Godly counsel.”
“He was like a father to us,” remembers Jerry Westbrook ’66. In fact, he and his wife, Joyce (Lawson ’66) called him “Father Emmons.” “He was one of the most influential men in our lives. His quiet wisdom, compassion and guidance helped us through our years at Houghton and well beyond.”
“Horace had an amazing ability to make every student think he was a dear friend while maintaining a strong sense of accountability and discipline with the scores of students who were employed under his leadership,” offered Clarence “Bud” Bence ’66.
Horace is survived by his wife of 42 years, Diane (Lytle ’74) Emmons, and his children, Robert Emmons and his wife, Harriet (Patten ’73) Emmons; Virginia (Emmons ’71) Cross and her husband, Leonard; Alfred Emmons and his wife, LeeAnn; and Beth Emmons ’83 as well as grandchildren, great-grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews, and many special friends. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Mertice Wentworth Emmons.
Houghton College Alumni
Norva (Bassage ’38) Crosby died March 1, 2016. She was 100 years old. Norva and her husband, Rev. Robert Crosby ’38, were missionaries to Colombia and, later, Puerto Rico, where they founded the first Wesleyan congregation. Norva played a huge role in establishing Wesleyan Academy, a Christian preparatory school, still in operation today. Norva is survived by her four children, Priscilla (Crosby ’63) Piersma; Robert Crosby, Jr. ’65; Stephen Crosby ’69; and Susan Crosby, as well as nine grandchildren and seven greatgrandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert.
Thelma (Havill) Johnston, 96, died June 16, 2015. Thelma was a high school English teacher in New York State and Vermont and, following her retirement, volunteered for many years at Wycliffe Bible Translators in North Carolina. She is survived by her four children, Paul Johnston ’69, Theresa (Johnston ’71) Loveless, Sheryl (Johnston ’76) Wilkins and Craig Johnston ’80; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband, W. Leon Johnston ’51.
Dr. Robert ‘Bob’ Stanton
December 5th, 2015
Mary Jane (Hall) Heimburg, 95, died September 21, 2015. Mary Jane was an elementary school teacher and guidance counselor in Florida for 29 years. She is survived by her three sons, Charles, John and David Heimburg; nine grandchildren; twelve great-grandchildren; a sister, Carol Montaldi; a foster sister, Nancy Cook; and a number of nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband of 58 years, Chester “Chet” Heimburg ’41.
Kathryn (Church) Wood
January 6, 2016
Harriet (Kalla) Hall, 95, died March 2, 2016. She taught third gradeand special education at Fillmore
Central School. Harriet is survived by daughters, Lucy (Hall ’66) Novak; Elizabeth Hall ’69; and Cyndi (Hall ’73) Rigby and her husband, Peter Rigby ’72, as well as four grandsons, including Matthew Rigby ’02 and his wife, Heather (Mann ’02) Rigby, and Nathaniel Rigby ’05 and his wife, Dorothy (Markle ’04) Rigby, and four great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband of 69 years, former Houghton professor of philosophy and religion Bert “Doc Hall” Hall ’43, and her brother, Joseph Kalla.
March 5, 2016
Violet (Foster) Smith
March 31, 2016
Olive (Minkwitz) Comer-Stetser
October 24, 2015
Kenneth Kouwe, 93, died February 26, 2016. Ken, a retired attorney, attended Browncroft Community Church and was very active in Houghton events. He was a US Army veteran serving during WWII. He was predeceased by his wife, Karla, and daughter, Elise Kouwe. He is survived by three sons, Bill, Bob and Dave Kouwe; four grandchildren; a sister, Marcia Kouwe ’58; several nieces and nephews, including Sharon (Markell ’77) Fien and Elisabeth Markell ’86; and dear friends, Azur and Irene Bergado and their son, K.C. Jordan.
Victoreen “Vickie” (Ashker) Kraft, 87, died on September 15, 2015. Vickie began her career as a chiropractor in Brooklyn, New York. She married fellow chiropractor Frederick Kraft, who joined her practice. In 1968, they were called to Dallas, Texas, to work with Child Evangelism Fellowship. In 1985, Vickie received a master’s in biblical studies from Dallas Theological Seminary and was the first director of the women’s ministry at Northwest Bible Church. Vickie is survived by daughters, Alison Victoria and Helene Cronin; sons, David and Robert Kraft; and five grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Fred, and their son, Stuart F. Kraft.
November 4, 2015
Dr. Gordon E. Miller
October 13, 2015
Edward Sakowski, 88, died October 24, 2015. Ed served in the First Cavalry Division of the US Army as First Sergeant and earned a master’s in education from SUNY Buffalo State. He was an educator and administrator in Erie, Wyoming and Orleans counties. He was a member of Post 527, American Legion in Hamburg, New York, and volunteered at Millard Fillmore Hospital and for the Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Group. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Geraldine (Schuster ’44) Sakowski; three children, Mark Sakowski, Janine (Sakowski ’72) Witte, and Jonathan Sakowski; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
James C. Watson, 96, died on December 28, 2015. Jim supervised building artillery gun-sights during WWII. He went on to earn a Master of Divinity from New York Theological Seminary and a Master of Arts from Union Theological Seminary. He served as a United Methodist pastor for 35 years. During his ministry, he served as president of the Long Island Council of churches and was awarded several honors for fostering brotherhood and social justice. Jim is survived by three children, Dennis Watson, Ellen Dore Watson, and Doc Watson; seven grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and a sister, Ann Caton. He was preceded in death by his wife of nearly 65 years, Marion.
Robert “Bob” Dingman died February 17, 2016. Bob served his country in WWII and was an executive search consultant for more than 40 years. In 1981, he was Houghton’s Alumnus of the Year. In 1989, he published a book, In Search of a Leader: The Complete Search Committee Guidebook (Lakeside Books, Westlake Village, California). Bob is survived by his second wife, Irene O. Dingman; three children, Laurie, David and Dan; two stepchildren, Stephanie and Dana; and his grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife of 47 years, Janice (Meade ’52) Dingman.
Grant Sension, 87, died on April 22, 2016. Grant spent his early years in India, where his parents were missionaries. He went on to earn a Master of Divinity from Northern Baptist Seminary, and a master’s in guidance and counseling from Illinois State University. Grant was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Chenoa, Illinois for 35 years. He also taught math and science, and worked as a counselor in the Chenoa School system. Grant is survived by his wife of 58 years, Marita; two daughters, Debra Hall and Sherry Arevalo; two sons, Michael Sension and Scott Sension; seven grandchildren; a sister, Virginia (Sension ’52) Smetana, a brother and two sisters. He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters.
December 20, 2015
J. Henry Davie, Jr.
December 21, 2015
Russel ‘Russ’ Hurlburt
July 1, 2015
Mildred (McFarland) Peterson
October 6, 2015
Emily (Holland) Meckler
March 16, 2016
Millicent (Steva) Tropf
September 5, 2015
Dorothy (Miller) Crocker, 85, died on February 25, 2016. She was a certified nurse anesthetist and volunteered at Akron Children’s Hospital and the Haven of Rest Ministries in Akron, Ohio. Dorothy leaves behind her husband of 63 years, Forrest Crocker ’53; son, Norman Crocker; daughters, Alene (Crocker ’78) Rayl and her husband, Dan Rayl ’78, and Valerie (Crocker ’80) Stark and her husband, Jeff Stark ’79; thirteen grandchildren including Kyle Crocker ’05 and his wife, Nadine (Mitchell ’06) Crocker; thirteen great-grandchildren; and sister, Margie (Miller ’49) Barnett and her husband, Beverly Barnett ’49.
Rev. Bernard Roof
March 9, 2016
George Huestis died on February 13, 2016. Rev. Huestis served the people of Brazil as a missionary for more than 43 years. He is survived by a son, Steve Huestis; a daughter, Rebecca Segovia; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife of 58 years, Esther.
Dorothy Meyer died January 18, 2016. Dr. Meyer earned her Ph.D. at Boston University and was a professor at UMass Lowell, Newton College and taught at Wellesley Junior High School. She was president of the Massachusetts Teacher Association and a member of the National Education Association and served on the Professional Standards and Teacher Education Board. She was also highly involved with the Evangelical and Ecumenical Women’s Society. She is survived by a brother, John Meyer.
Albert Sadler died Sunday, March 6, 2016. Albert was a veteran of World War II, earned three master’s degrees from Tennessee Temple University, and was working on his Doctorate of Ministry. He was an avid learner, scholar and farmer. Surviving are three children, S. Jeannette Sadler ’80, Hamilton Sadler, and Sylvia (Sadler ’82) Christensen and her husband, John Christensen ’91; eight grandchildren including Paul Christensen ’06, Naomi Christensen ’08, Bethany Christensen ’10, Philip Christensen ’12 and his wife, Rebecca (Sass ’12) Christensen; one great-grandchild; two sisters-in-law including Jeanne (Hotaling ’53) Sadler; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Bessie (Hall ’48) Sadler, and his brother, Richard Sadler ’53.
Betty Lou (Fleming) Schafer, 84, died on December 7, 2015. In 1966, Betty worked as a nurse for the San Juan Regional Medical Center in New Mexico and later was instrumental in founding and developing the nursing program at San Juan College. She retired in the late 1990s after 40 years of nursing and teaching. Betty is survived by her best friend and husband of 60 years, David Schafer; daughter, Kimberly Stephens; son, Kevin Schafer; foster daughter, Diana Schmitt; three grandchildren; one foster granddaughter; two great-grandchildren; a brother, Giles Fleming; and nieces and nephews including Sandy (Schafer ’84) Merrill.
Bill Fountain died on July 21, 2015. Billy earned a master’s from Cornell University and spent most of his career at Rochester Midland Corp. In later years, he worked with Churches Alive and Young Life. Billy is survived by his second wife, Barbara Fountain and his children, Jim Fountain ’80; Cindy (Fountain ’81) Piper and her husband, Glen B. Piper Jr. ’81; David Fountain ’91; and Cheri Hustead as well as eight grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Nancy (Triechler ’54) Fountain.
Lois “Voegie” (Voege) Griffin, 83, died on February 9, 2016. Lois earned her master’s from New York University in 1955 and spent most of her career as a computer programmer. She was one of the first woman programmers hired by IBM in the ’60s. She retired from the Texas State Comptroller’s office in 1994. She is survived by her son, Frank Griffin, and his family. She was preceded in death by her brother, Robert Voege; two sisters, Carol Voege ’48 and Ruth (Voege ’58) Willcock; and her infant son, Daniel Griffin.
Richard Ross, 89, died November 28, 2015. Rev. Ross earned a Bronze Star Medal in World War II and served as a second lieutenant in the Korean War. After graduating from Houghton, he went on to Dallas Theological Seminary and spent his career serving in the Presbyterian Church. Richard is survived by his wife, Carolyn Briese; daughters, Elizabeth Ross and Kathryn Ross; grandson, Alexander Landrey; and stepchildren, Valerie, Melissa and Tony Briese; and siblings Janet Smith, Jean Neuman, William Ross, Julia (Ross ’64) Strope and Jane (Ross ’67) Downton along with many other family and friends. He was preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, Jean (Tutton ’53) Ross, and his brother, Robert Ross.
George Parsells died on April 6, 2016. George earned his Master of Divinity from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary and spent his early working years in ministry with the United Methodist and Baptist churches. In 1971, he began a career in government relations and associations management. George is survived by his wife, Pearle Hundley Kamp Parsells; four sons: Paul, David, Glenn and Mark; six grandchildren; a nephew, William Neal; and two grandnieces. He was preceded in death by his sister, Peggy Neal.
August 30, 2015
Erma (Robinson) Vosseler, 89, died on September 25, 2015. Erma taught music for the Iroquois Central School District for over 60 years. She earned National Piano Foundation, Piano Musicianship and Pedagogy certificates in 1976. She is survived by her husband, Merold Vosseler; two children, Philip Vosseler and Bryan Vosseler ’86 and his wife, Doris-Ann (Iradi ’85) Vosseler; a grandson, Thomas Vosseler; and siblings, Iva James, Courtney Robinson and Lloyd Armstrong.
William Christensen died on September 6, 2015. “Pastor Bill” served for 50 years in four churches. Bill is survived his wife, Joyce (Milligan ’57) Christensen, and their three children, David Christensen, Susan Crowe and Amy Christensen as well as six grandchildren and his twin brother, Theodore Christensen.
David and Edna (Lovestrand ’64) Orser, married for 51 years, died within four days of each other on September 13 and September 17, 2015, respectively. David was a chemist for more than 30 years, working with General Electric and Martin-Marietta and finally retiring from Lockheed-Martin. Edna taught elementary school more than 30 years in the Liverpool School System in Liverpool, New York. The Orsers were members of First Baptist Church of Leesburg, Florida, where they both volunteered with the church’s mentoring and counseling ministry. They are survived by three sons, Don Orser ’87, Thomas Orser and William Orser; eleven grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews, including Linda (Fleth ’88) Thompson, Edward Fleth ’90 and Louis Lovestrand ’90. David is survived by his sister, Janet (Orser ’61) Fleth. Edna is survived by three brothers, including Paul Lovestrand ’66, and two sisters.
Douglas “Doug” Wiemer, 73, died November 13, 2015. Doug was a retired Lt. Col. of the US Army and spent 42 years at Seeger Metals and Plastics in Toledo, Ohio, where he retired as Vice President. He also served for a time as president of the International Association of Plastic Distributors and was an active member of Collingwood Presbyterian Church in Toledo. Surviving are his wife of 50 years, Sue; children David Wiemer and Elizabeth Freeman; seven grandchildren; and a nephew. He was preceded in death by his sister and a nephew.
Pauline (Harmon) Burgio
February 19, 2015
Penny (Hamaker) Ames
Robert ‘Bob’ Janssen
October 2, 2015
Richard ‘Dick’ Kleppinger
March 29, 2016
February 23, 2016
Gerald Haines died on September 29, 2014. He was the pastor of Fellowship Church in Machias, New York, for 60 years and was an elementary school teacher with the Pioneer school system in Arcade, New York, for 20 years. Over the years, Gerald and his wife took in 35 foster children. Surviving are his wife, Frances, and daughters, Joy (Haines ’80) Burch and Pamela (Haines ’81) Temons; a son, Jared Haines; 12 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; 5 brothers, Lloyd, Quentin, Harold, Dale and Paul; and a sister, Katherine Colby-Talbot. He was predeceased by his sister, J. Ardith Jacobson.
January 27, 2016
Oliver “Butch” Mousseau, 48, died on March 25, 2016, after sustaining a traumatic head injury at a hockey tournament in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Butch served as a professional hockey referee since 1998 with various leagues including with the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), the Colorado Springs-based National Collegiate Hockey Conference and USA Hockey. In addition, Mousseu worked an NHL preseason game, and, as he was the league’s only Native American referee, his NHL officials’ sweater and skates are in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Mousseu is survived by his wife, Macaire, their three children, Sam, Abbie and Olivia; his parents; and four siblings, including Francine Mousseau ’96.
Harold Nichols, 53, was killed in Jamaica, West Indies, on April 30, 2016, while serving with TEAMS for Medical Missions. Harold and his wife, Teri, had been serving with the organization in Jamaica since 2002, where they built houses for the poor and ran a Bible club and breakfast program for Jamaican children. In addition to his wife of nearly 25 years, Harold is survived by four stepchildren, Philip Stephenson, Rebekah Stephenson, Joshua Stephenson and Elisabeth Stephenson-Luby; a foster son, Arthur Baker; five grandchildren; and two siblings.