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Carson-Speaks Chapel
1501 W. Lexington Ave.
Independence, MO 64052
(816) 252-7900

DR. OLIVER C. "OLLIE" HOUSTON Jr.


1928 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences
DR.  OLIVER C. "OLLIE" HOUSTON Jr. Obituary
DR. OLIVER "OLLIE" C. HOUSTON, JR. Dr. Oliver "Ollie" C. Houston, Jr., 85, died March 1, 2014, in Lee's Summit, Mo. A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 8, at Carson-Speaks Chapel, 1501 W. Lexington Ave., Independence, MO 64052 with visitation from 6 to 7 p.m. Friday, March 7, at the chapel. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations made to the Division of Visual & Performing Arts at Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa. A celebration of Dr. Houston's life and music will be held in Lamoni later this year (a separate announcement will be made). He was born Sept. 24, 1928, in Independence to Oliver and Edith (Slover) Houston. His parents operated restaurants on and near the Independence Square from the 1920's to 1950's. He attended Ott Elementary School and graduated from William Chrisman High five weeks after Harry S. Truman (whose home was just a few blocks away) became U.S. President in 1945. Ollie received a B.A. from the University of Kansas City in 1951 and graduate degrees in music theory and education from the University of Michigan and the University of Colorado. During his high school and college years, he enjoyed being involved as organist and announcer for the live radio broadcasts originating from Stone Church on KMBC. In April 1960, he gave the first of several organ recitals at the Community of Christ Auditorium where he was organist for numerous programs and services over the next several decades. His military service was during the Korean Conflict as a chaplain's assistant in the U.S. Army's 8th and 31st Infantry Divisions. Dr. Houston's teaching career spanned 49 years on the music faculty at Graceland College/University, Lamoni, where, in addition to teaching, he held several administrative positions and also served terms on the Iowa Arts Council and the Iowa Health Systems Agency. Since moving back to his home area in 2010, he often proudly noted how many of his 800- plus organ and music theory students from Graceland are professionally involved in this area. Nine of his hymn-tune compositions have been published, and he also wrote a number of anthems and songs. Ollie's greatest rewards were in the relationships with his family. He met his beloved wife, Lois, when she came to work in Independence from Illinois in 1953 after graduating from Graceland College. They were married June 24, 1956, at the Stone Church and have been blessed with a son and daughter, their spouses, two grandsons and a granddaughter. In addition, Lois' brothers and sister have expanded the Houston-Britton clan via several nieces, their spouses and children. Family travels, holiday celebrations and events were important facets of Ollie's life, including writing a traditional family "Christmas Song." Ollie and Lois both retired in 2005 and continued to live in Lamoni until moving to John Knox Village in 2010. Lois had served as Director of a 7-County Area Agency on Aging for 30 years. Ollie was known for sharing recollections about friends and acquaintances from the Independence area. He attributed recalling names and connections with the business operations of his parents. Oliver was preceded in death by his parents, dear wife, Lois Ellen Britton, a sister and grandson, Francis Houston. He is survived by son, Todd A. and wife Joanne of Australia; daughter, Tiffany M. Houston Wilkinson and husband Jeremy of Kansas City, Mo.; grandsons, Cooper D. Wilkinson and Quincy G. Wilkinson; granddaughter, Emily Ellen Houston; brothers-in- law, sister-in-law and their families including four nieces and their spouses and children. Online condolences may be expressed at www.speakschapel.com Arr.: Carson-Speaks Chapel, (816) 252-7900.
Published in Kansas City Star on Mar. 5, 2014
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