Six Lakes- Ethelda Athlee Van Houten, of Six Lakes, died at Woodland Hospice on December 20, 2016 after a short illness. She was born on March 5, 1923, in Childress, Texas, the fourth child and eldest daughter of Noel and Ann (Dry) Arnn. She graduated from Carey High School and then St. Mary’s School of Nursing in Galveston, TX. She remained grateful for the rest of her life to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s CCA and New Deal programs for the opportunity they gave her. She enlisted in the US Army in 1945, and was assigned to an amputee facility in Temple, TX, where she met and cared for a sergeant from Michigan. She and Darwin Van Houten were married at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio on March 21, 1946, and settled in Six Lakes for the rest of their lives. Ethelda practiced as a nurse in many settings, beginning at the original Edmore Hospital and ending with the health center at Alma College, as well as being the “go-to” health professional for medical questions and assistance for countless Six Lakes residents. She was an active member of New Life United Methodist Church.
Ethelda was predeceased by her husband of 64 years, Darwin, her parents, her stepfather Gene McCain, 3 brothers, John, JG, and Kenneth, and a sister, Roxie Stephens.
She is survived by her sister Madeline McCain, 3 children and their spouses, Sherrie Van Houten and Randy Tomke of Bay City, Howard and Trish Van Houten of Oakton, Virginia, and Eric and Terri Van Houten of Avon, Ohio; 5 grandchildren: Ben and Kristen Tomke, Dave Tomke, Chris Tomke and his fiancée Jennifer McGowan, Jonah Van Houten, and Adrienne and Jon Blaha, and a 5 month old great-granddaughter, Kamryn Ann Tomke.
Visitation will be from 2-8 pm on December 21, 2016 at the Brigham Building in Six Lakes. Funeral Services will be held at New Life United Methodist Church on Thursday, December 22, 2016 at 11:00 am with visitation an hour before the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the New Life United Methodist Church, or to the Darwin and Ethelda Van Houten Scholarship Fund thru the Greenville Area Community Fund.
Ethelda was an intelligent, independent, and contributing member of her community until the day of her death. She will be deeply missed by many people.
Condolences to the family may be made utilizing the guestbook below.
Brigham Funeral Chapel - Lakeview
9977 W. Howard City-Edmore Road
Lakeview, MI 48850
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6055 Howard City-Edmore Road
Vestaburg, MI 48891
Brigham Funeral Chapel - Edmore
413 Gilson Street
Edmore, MI 48829
Brigham Funeral Chapel -
PO Box 320
118 Center Street
Six Lakes, MI 48886
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