Memorial for Donald Houser ’51
Donald E. Houser, 89, of Springfield, and formerly of Jacksonville, died Friday, March 15, 2019, at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield. He was born December 15, 1929, in Olney, the son of Paul and Thelma Whipple Houser. Don married Joy Carol Dunn on December 23, 1951, and she preceded him in death on June 20, 1993. He married Connie Coultas Jacobs on July 11, 1998, in Jacksonville, and she survives.
Don is also survived by two children, Philip Houser of Bloomington and Diane Elizabeth (Steve) Gordon of Decatur, Georgia; two step-children, Laura (Christopher) Stiltz and Matt Jacobs, both of Springfield; six grandchildren, Wes (Paul) Gordon of New York, Drew Houser of Boulder, Colorado, Lindsey (Chris) Gordon of Atlanta, Georgia, Audrey (R.J.) Carvis of Chicago, Kiley Jacobs of Jacksonville, and Sam Stiltz of Springfield. He is also survived by two nephews, Chuck Houser and David Houser, both of California, and special family friend Carla Houser of Bloomington. Don was preceded in death by one brother, Edwin Houser.
Don graduated as salutatorian of Decatur High School Class of 1947. He attended Millikin University from 1947-48, and the University of Illinois from 1948-1951, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering and was a member of the Chi Epsilon Civil Engineering Honor Society. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1951, commissioned as a Lieutenant, and served for two years as an Air Installations Officer stationed in Mississippi and Texas. He then entered into a long career as a civil engineer, first with the State of Illinois, and later joining Casler and Stapleton of Jacksonville. He remained at that firm for over 40 years, which came to be known as Casler, Houser, and Hutchison, and retired in 1998. Don served as president of the Illinois Consult Engineering Council and as a fellow with the American Society of Engineering Companies. Two of Don's most notable professional achievements were the design of the water pipelines supplying water to Jacksonville from the Illinois River and Galesburg from the Mississippi River.
Don was active in the Jacksonville community, serving on the board of directors of Passavant Hospital, as chairman of the Boy Scout Camp Development Committee, as president of the Jacksonville YMCA for ten years, as the first president of the Jacksonville Ducks Unlimited, and as a state chairman for Ducks Unlimited.
As an avid outdoorsman, Don visited at least 40 states, Canadian provinces, and Mexican states, on various duck hunting, turkey hunting, and fishing trips. Don enjoyed his dogs and painting with acrylics.
A memorial visitation will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 23, 2019, at Williamson Funeral Home. Private services will be held at a later date. Memorials are suggested to PAWS. Condolences may be left online at www.airsman-hires.com.
Williamson Funeral Home
1405 Lincoln Avenue
Jacksonville, IL 62650
Published in Jacksonville Journal-Courier on Mar. 18, 2019