James Houser Obituary

James  Houser
Jim Houser
James Houser

July 12, 2005
Resided in Johnston, IA
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James (Jim) Houser, 50, drowned off the coast of El Salvador on Tuesday, July 12, on the last day of a 10-day tour for the Iowa Youth Chorus, which he was chaperoning. His last days were spent supporting music with the quiet compassion that was central to his life.

Jim and his wife, Kathryn (Mikesh) Houser, first met as competitors in high school jazz competitions. He was a trombone player from Hoover High School in Des Moines. She was a saxophone player from West Waterloo. They both entered the University of Northern Iowa as music majors. Jim transferred to and graduated from the University of Iowa and got an MBA from Drake University. They were married in 1977 and still enjoyed playing together in the First Baptist Church ensemble.

Some families do sports, the Housers do music. Son, Daniel, 24, now in training to be a Special Forces medic at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, is a jazz pianist. Daughter, Meryl, 20, a junior at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, sings in choirs on campus. And son, Samuel, 13, a freshman at Iowa Christian Academy, is a member of the Iowa Youth Chorus and plays the trombone and piano.

Jim's career at Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., took the family to Portland, Oregon and to Paris, France. Jim was vice president responsible for the specialty grains division based in Des Moines when he retired at 47.

His community involvement spanned from driving low-income retirement home residents on errands to serving on a number of boards including First Baptist Church of Des Moines, the Iowa Youth Chorus, Rainbow Acres (a home for mentally challenged adults in Arizona) and the Des Moines Area Religious Council.

An avid snow skier and runner, he ran a number of marathons including the Boston Marathon this past spring. Jim always had a large smile and impeccable comic timing.

In addition to his wife and three children, Jim is survived by his parents, Robert and Doris Houser; brother, Ted (Jan); sister, Judy Gray (Jules) and a nephew, all in the Des Moines area, and two nieces.

Visitation services for Jim Houser will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 20, at First Baptist Church, 8250 NW 62nd Avenue in Johnston. His funeral will be held there at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 21. Memorial contributions may be sent to the Iowa Youth Chorus or to the First Baptist Church Fine Art Series.





First Baptist Church--Johnston
8250 N.W. 62nd Avenue
Johnston, IA US 50131
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
3:00 PM - 7:00 PM
First Baptist Church -- Johnston
8250 NW 62nd Avenue
Johnston, IA US 50131
Thursday, July 21, 2005
10:30 AM


First Baptist Church Fine Arts Department
8250 NW 62nd Avenue
Johnston, IA US
Iowa Youth Choruses
1011 Locust Street
Des Moines, IA 50309