IN MEMORIAM: FRANK HOUK
Father, grandfather (“Geepa”), husband, life partner, friend, educator, athlete, coach. Frank's influence, joy, and passion radiated throughout his 75 years.
While in his youth, Frank’s family moved from Alabama to find employment in the steel mills of Gary, IN. In 1963, Frank graduated from Horace Mann High School (Gary, IN) and was recruited to play football for Ball State University (Muncie, IN). He often spoke proudly of his time as the Cardinal’s quarterback and member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. ln 1965, Frank quarterbacked Ball State to a perfect 9-0 regular season and earned Most Valuable Player honors in the 1965 Grantland Rice Bowl. In 1985, Frank was inducted into the Ball State Hall of Fame.
After college, Frank was offered the unique opportunity to play minor league professional baseball with the Oakland Athletics. It wasn’t long, however, before he realized he wanted a more stable career path so that he could help support his parents. Frank returned to Indiana to take a teaching and football coaching position in Goshen, IN. It was in these early days that he discovered his true purpose as an educator and mentor. Frank earned his administrative license in 1984, leaving behind the classroom and football field to lead from the school office. In 2003, after an illustrious 35-year career, Frank retired as Area Administrator with Fort Wayne Community Schools. He would often reflect that the most rewarding part of being an educator at every level was interacting with and connecting with the students.
In 1969 Frank met and married Pamela Kraegel, a fellow teacher. The two moved to Fort Wayne, IN, in 1974 to teach (and in Frank’s case, coach football) at South Side High School. The two resided in Fort Wayne throughout their 41-year marriage, sharing a passion for education and raising their daughter. In 2011, Pamela passed away from pancreatic cancer. Seeking a fresh start and a joyful retirement, Frank moved to Fort Myers, FL, in 2012. A year later, he found love again with Carol Hyde. Frank and Carol spent the past seven years building a beautiful life together filled with happiness, love, laughter, and companionship.
In his personal life, Frank was an avid golfer, painter, singer, philosopher, slight-of-hand magician, lifelong White Sox fan, and football enthusiast. He loved karaoke, his dog (Elvis), a good Scotch, and doting on his two grandsons (“his boys”).
William Franklin “Frank” Houk, Jr. (75), was born in Huntstville, AL, on November 24, 1944. On Monday, May 25, 2020, he died of a heart attack caused by blood clots that developed following a stent procedure one week prior. He is survived in death by his love, Carol Hyde (Ft. Myers, FL); his daughter and son-in-law, Erin (Houk) and Steven Juricak (New Hill, NC); and his two young grandsons, William and Alexander.
Frank was preceded in death by his wife Pamela (Kraegel) Houk; his sisters Shirley (Houk) Sampson and Gail (Houk) Sanders; and his parents William Franklin “Frank,” Sr. and Zelma (Wooten) Houk.
Three of his favorite sayings:
1. “Instead of spending most of your time trying to get others to like and respect you, spend your time helping others like and respect themselves.” (Lift others up and they’ll want to be around you.)
2. “If you give a dance, you gotta pay the band.” (Your actions have consequences.)
3. And in a handwritten note that he left behind for me, he wrote: “Life goes on.”
In lieu of a formal memorial service, please choose to honor Frank’s life in a personal manner befitting to how you knew him: play a round of golf, enjoy a Scotch, karaoke to a Frank Sinatra or Elvis song – remember how much joy he brought to you.
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