ESCANABA - Irving C. "Francis" Houle, 83, 1108 7th Ave S., Escanaba, passed away on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009, at Marquette General Hospital.
He was born on Dec. 27, 1925, in Wilson, the son of Peter and Lillian (Bennett) Houle. Irving was raised in Wilson and attended Harris High School before moving to Escanaba in 1942. He graduated from St. Joseph High School in 1944.
The day following graduation, Irving entered the U.S. Army. While serving his country, he received the European, African, Middle Eastern Theater Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and the American Theater Service Medal. He was honorably discharged on June 20, 1946.
Irving C. “Francis” Houle
On Nov. 17, 1948, Irving married the former Gail LaChapelle at St. Joseph Church in Escanaba.
Over the years, Irving was employed with Robert's Shoes, Montgomery Ward, Northern Chemical Supply, Harnischfeger Corporation, and worked for 15 years at EMP as the first plant manager.
He was a member of St. Joseph and St. Patrick's Church and was active with the Knights of Columbus.
While he was a 3rd degree Knight, he was the Grand Knight and also the District Deputy prior to his installation as a 4th degree Knight.
He was a religious man that prayed with many people. A book, "A Man Called Francis" was written by Fr. Robert J. Fox on his Gift from God.
Irving enjoyed gardening, sports, and spending time with his family.
Among the survivors include his wife of 60 years, Gail; daughter, Margo (Brian) Rout of Columbus, Ind.; four sons, Steve (Peggy) of Escanaba, Peter (Mark Levesque) of Philadelphia, Pa., John (Lori) of Escanaba, and Matt (Salli) of Gladstone; seven grandchildren, Jodi, Jason, Jennifer, Stephanie, Jared, Jerilyn, and Ian; four great-grandchildren, Cole, Taylor, Jersie, and Cooper; brother, Robert (Colleen) Houle of Chelsie, Mich.; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Ray, Donald, Reyn, and Al; and sister, Gladys.
Visitation will be on Wednesday, Jan. 7, from noon to 6 p.m. at St. Joseph and St. Patrick Church in Escanaba.
The Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 6 p.m. with Rev. Eric Olson officiating. A meal will be served following the Mass in the church fellowship hall.
Burial will be in Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund in Irving's name will be established by the family at a later date. Envelopes will be available at the church and funeral home.
The Crawford Funeral Homes are assisting the Houle family with arrangements.