August 23, 1929 - July 23, 2013
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Wanda Wright Houck died of cardiac arrest on July 23, one month short of her 84th birthday. She was born in Duluth, MN, the only child of Chester B. and Florence W. Wright. Her mother had been an elementary school teacher; her father was a car dealer and later a motel proprietor. Wanda's family moved to Michigan just before WW II. She attended a one-room schoolhouse in Chesterfield, MI and then high school in nearby Mount Clemens, where she edited the school newspaper. Upon graduation, Wanda entered the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where she earned a B.A. in Sociology.
In 1950, Wanda married John Houck, who survives her. They had been classmates both in high school and college. Wanda worked as a secretary to put her husband through Michigan Law School. They had three children: Lisa Karen Houck, who is an artist in Boston; William Wright Houck, a property developer in Bend, OR; and Katherine Jane Parenteau, an interior designer in N. Stonington, CT. There are three beloved grandchildren: Amelia Leigh Parenteau, Jules William Parenteau, and Harrison Houck Ringel.
After her children were well along in school, and the family was living in Cleveland, Wanda earned a master's degree in Social Work at Case Western Reserve University. She was employed as a social worker first by Mount Sinai Hospital and then for 15 years by Jewish Family Service in Cleveland. Subsequently Wanda conducted a private psychiatric counseling practice both in Cleveland and Los Angeles, to which the family had moved in 1981. For a few years she taught a course at UCLA on family behavior patterns.
Wanda was an enthusiastic hiker, tennis player and bike-rider; an advanced bridge player; a notable hostess; and an avid reader. She loved to travel. Wanda was a woman who was always learning and who longed to explore the next frontier.
In accordance with wishes of the deceased, there will not be a public memorial service. The family wishes to acknowledge the extraordinary care provided to her by UCLA Medical Center during her later years. Donations can be made on behalf of Wanda Houck to The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on July 28, 2013