James Edward Houser, 85, of Belmond, IA, passed away peacefully, on May 4, 2020.
A public visitation will be held Friday, June 19th, from 530-830 PM at the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Belmond, and a Rosary service will be held at 5 PM Friday.
Public Mass of Christian Burial will be Saturday, June 20, 2020, at 10:30 AM at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Belmond, IA. Father Jerry Blake will be officiating. The public is also invited to the graveside at the St. Francis Cemetery following the funeral service at the church for the public continuation of Jim’s services and the procession of Jim’s casket lead by the Belmond Fire Department through Belmond. Full military honors will take place at the cemetery provided by the Belmond Military Unit. A time of fellowship will follow at the church parish hall. Social distancing will be practiced as needed. Andrews Funeral Home, Belmond, IA is handling arrangements.
Jim was born June 20, 1934, in Des Moines, Iowa, the son of Paul John Houser and Dorothy Marie (Clark) Houser. He graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1952 and the State University of Iowa (now University of Iowa) in 1956 with a degree in Business Administration. In college, Jim was active in many roles, organizations and activities including president of Sigma Chi Fraternity, treasurer of the Student Council, secretary-treasurer of the Interfraternity Council, member of the university’s tennis team and a cadet in the Army Reserves Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). He also met his wife, Betty Clare Henderson, while at Iowa.
Jim proudly served his country as an officer in Korea from 1956 to 1958. He was a graduate of the Army’s Airborne and Ranger Schools. He was honorably discharged after achieving the rank of 1st Lieutenant.
In 1959, Jim enrolled in Drake University Law School, Des Moines, a three-year program, which he completed in 2 1/2 years. Jim married Betty Clare on May 2, 1959 and was admitted to the Iowa Bar in 1961.
Jim joined his father-in-law, Roy Henderson, in the practice of law. Belmond immediately appealed to Jim and he proudly served it and the surrounding communities for nearly 60 years. He appreciated the challenges, rewards and interactions with clients from all walks of life as a general practice lawyer.
Jim’s vocation brought a wide variety of civic legal duties in addition to his regular clientele. He was the City Attorney of Belmond and Goodell for many years and an Assistant and Second Assistant Wright County Attorney. He also was active in the local and state bars holding multiple positions including president of the Wright County Attorney Association and the Wright County Bar Association. Jim was a speaker at the Iowa State Bar Association Bridge the Gap seminar. He also provided countless hours of legal representation on a pro bono basis.
Jim was passionate about community and civic service and wore many different hats in various businesses, philanthropic boards and volunteer organizations. He was most proud of his membership in the Belmond Volunteer Fire Department from 1964 to 1994. He served as Chief for his last 8 years on the department. Jim also chaired the E-911 Service Board.
Jim was a legal advisor to Belmond Industrial Development Corporation (BIDCO) and a member of the Belmond Chamber of Commerce Board. He also served on the Belmond Community Chest Board including a time as its chairperson and as a trustee of the Luick Trust Foundation, which has distributed funds for countless projects for the betterment of Belmond. Jim was on the Board of Directors of the Belmond Jaycees. He was honored by the Jaycee’s as its Outstanding Religious Leader in 1969 and Boss of the Year in 1991.
Jim was a faithful and active member of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. He served several terms on the Parish Council, the Tithing Committee and was a longstanding member of the Knights of Columbus – St. Francis Council #8110, for which he served as Grand Knight at the time of his death. He appreciated the friendship and camaraderie of his fellow Knights.
Jim and Betty Clare were very active, regularly taking their family to the ski slopes of Colorado, summer vacations throughout the continental United States, fishing excursions to Canada with his sons and grandsons and entertaining family and friends while boating at Lake Cornelia. They made sure each vacation had an educational element in addition to having fun. Jim was very proud that his three sons and four grandsons all attained the rank of Eagle Scout.
Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Betty Clare; son, Michael; daughter-in-law, Holly Sue Houser Simons; parents and sister, Janis Steele. He is survived by his son Michael’s children, Brendan and Megan Houser; his son, John (Jennifer) Houser and daughter, Emma; son, Thomas Houser and children, Charlie and Clare; daughter, Molly Ann (Bruce) Kuebler and three children, Barry, Michael and Clare Marie.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Belmond Volunteer Fire Department or Knights of Columbus – St. Francis Council #8110.
Andrews Funeral Home, Belmond, IA. www.andrewfuneralhomeandfloral.com 641-444-4474