Ethelda A. Van Houten



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.


Discussion closed
  • Gaye Baron (Wednesday, December 21 16 10:00 am EST)

    So sorry your mom is gone. She was a wonderful, kind, and gracious lady.

  • Jay & Jenae Schabel (Wednesday, December 21 16 12:14 pm EST)

    Sherrie and family, so sorry for your loss. Your mother seemed like an amazing woman and we know she passed that on to you. Our condolences during this difficult time.

  • Alan Blaha Famiy (Wednesday, December 21 16 01:50 pm EST)

    Grandma VanHouten was a wonderful and gracious woman and will be missed by all who knew her. Our thoughts and prayers are with her Family.
    The Blaha Family

  • Michael Kennedy (Wednesday, December 21 16 08:01 pm EST)

    Eric and family, wishing you strength and peace during this difficult time. While I never had the opportunity to meet her, the few stories I have read , tell me she was a kind and extremely giving soul. Cherish the good traits she has passed along.

  • Alan Caswell, Seattle, WA (Friday, December 23 16 03:29 pm EST)

    Hi Sherrie and Eric,
    Just got word of Ethelda's passing. Rather amazing in these days of instant communication, it still takes a week for some news to travel.

    I really liked Ethelda and have nice memories of her smiling face, on the street and at the Post Office.

    I also appreciate all the kind things she did for my mother (Glee), especially when she was ill with cancer.

    Getting so there are fewer and fewer of the Six Lakes folks of our youth still around.

  • Al (Friday, December 23 16 03:35 pm EST)

    Didn't mean to leave you out of my post above, was just typing away and not paying close enough attention. Seems to happen more as I get older. :-( My apologies.

  • Susan Caswell Bustinza (Friday, December 23 16 04:34 pm EST)

    So sorry to hear about your mom. She was always so nice to everybody. Both your mom and dad were very good to my mom before she passed away. A number of times Ethelda brought dinner up to mom and just sat and talked. Both your parents were very good people and Six Lakes was lucky to have them
    God bless you and will be praying for you all during this time of sadness

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