Harold James Houghton

Thursday, December 26, 2019
Harold James Houghton

Harold James Houghton

COLUMBUS – Harold James Houghton, 79, experienced the fulfill- ment of the promise God made him in his Baptism when he departed from our presence to his heavenly home December 17, 2019, after a long, valiant battle against cancer at his earthly home in Columbus with his family and the support of many friends. He was born August 10, 1940 to Thomas and Lena Houghton, and was raised on his parents’ farm in the hills north of Absarokee. He graduated from Columbus High School in 1958, where he was nicknamed “Weasel.” He joined the U.S. Army in 1960 as a vehicle mechanic. Serving in West Germany, he was introduced to Irmgard Klingler by a fellow soldier. They married September 1, 1962 and remained united for 57 years until his death parted them. The Army honorably discharged him as a Specialist 4 in 1963. Back home in Montana, Harold worked several jobs around the area from Roundup to Columbus, including at Timberweld Manufacturing.

Harold gladly became an active member of St. James’ Lutheran Church in Columbus at Irmgard’s insisting. Harold was Baptized at St. James’ where he served on the Church Council and was involved in numerous activities, including remodeling the building. He struck out on his own in the construction and concrete business in 1972. He helped build all kinds of things from highway bridges near Wolf Point to commercial buildings in Livingston, and many houses in between including the Houghton’s beautiful Swiss-style home on Whitebird Road. After experimenting building kitchen cabinets in some houses, in 1996 he gave up concrete completely and began assembling his kitchen cabinet wood working business. In 1997, he sold the Whitebird house to buy the house at 243 West 2nd Avenue North in Columbus. He had liked its location since he saw it built in 1955. But Harold being Harold, he immediately set to work remodeling, expanding and improving the house, and built his dream kitchen cabinet shop next door. It is the home where he died.

Never one to sit idle very long, Harold joined the Columbus Volunteer Fire Department, serving multiple positions including firefighter, training officer and captain. He was instrumental in developing Columbus Fire Rescue and helped build its current facility. Harold came to identify himself more as a fireman than a cabinet maker, carpen- ter, and concrete contractor. He also ran for and was elected to the Columbus City Council, serving three four-year terms for Ward #3. He was a strong advocate on the Council for the Fire Rescue. He was also proud of the city’s Christmas decorations he was involved in buying. He was a significant builder of the Columbus and surrounding area community.

Harold is survived by Irmgard, son Harold James “Jim” (Nancy) Houghton, Jr. of Spokane, daughter Gerlinde (Russ) Dewell of Columbus, sisters Roberta Wordon of Billings and Irene (Ter- ry) Forstner of Laurel, and eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Jack Houghton, and sister Deanna Houghton.

Harold’s public funeral service will be Saturday January 11th at 10 a.m. in the Columbus Middle School gym, Pr. Tonia Fisher of St. James will be presiding. Military honors, Fire Rescue escort, and graveside committal will be determined based on the weather. A public lunch reception will follow the service at the Columbus firehall. No flowers please. The family invites you to otherwise consider a memorial donation in Harold’s honor to: St. James’ Lutheran Church in Columbus, Billings Clinic Cancer Center, or Stillwater Hospice.

The family thanks everyone who supported them during Harold’s cancer battle, his final weeks of decline, and especially now after his death. You truly love your neighbor as yourself!

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