Barbara Houha, 87

Head Start teacher, book lover, poet

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Barbara J. Houha, 87, an Oak Park resident for 67 years, died on Aug. 2, 2019 after a brief hospitalization with her loved ones by her side. Born on Nov. 20, 1931, she grew up in Cicero and attended Morton High School, Morton Junior College, and received a bachelor's degree in Education at Northwestern University. She was a creative and artistic person who enjoyed writing poetry, often jotting stanzas on scraps of paper or backs of envelopes throughout the day.

She lived in Oak Park for 67 years, most recently in Mills Park Tower where she enjoyed the views of downtown Oak Park through the seasons. 

An avid reader of books, she also enjoyed her New Yorker magazine, but her favorite reading in later years were the social media and blog updates posted by her children and grandchildren, especially daughter-in-law Cheri's family blog. She found great joy in her children and grandchildren and gave them the irreplaceable gift of unconditional love and support, for which they are ever grateful, and not a little amazed. They cherish the carefully selected birthday or anniversary cards she never missed sending, always with a little note that was exactly what they needed to hear. 

From girlhood on, she enjoyed many summers in Camp Lake, Wisconsin, where she continued to create treasured memories with her own children. She was a homemaker for many years and then a much-loved Head Start Teacher at Grant Works in Cicero before retiring to help care for her grandchildren. During their school years in Oak Park, she was active in the Irving School PTO and as a room mother. She collected children's books and loved reading to her children and grandchildren. 

Barbara Houha is survived by her children, Juliet (Kevin) Stantz, Allison (Patrick Olson) Houha, Leonard (Loreen) Houha, and Andrew (Cheri) Houha; her grandchildren, Matthew and Clare Olson, Daniel and Steven Stantz, Elaine, Bradley and Lindsey Houha, and Leonard, Nathan and David Houha. She was preceded in death by her eldest daughter, Elizabeth; her former husband, Leonard J. Houha; her brother, Harold (Patricia) Olsen; and her parents, Hjalmer and Florence Olsen. 

A celebration of her life will held at Oak Park's Pilgrim Congregational Church,%u202F460 Lake St., on Friday, Aug. 16 for visitation at 5:30 p.m., memorial service at 7 p.m., followed by a light reception. Memorial donations may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation or the American Diabetes Association. 

Arrangements were handled by Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home.

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