Lorraine Houck, of Decorah, passed away peacefully Thursday, March 1, 2018, at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse, Wis., after a short illness, surrounded by her family. Funeral services are at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 10, at Decorah Lutheran Church, with Pastor Dave Sorenson and Pastor Brenda Crossfield officiating. Burial is in Burr Oak Cemetery in Burr Oak. Visitation is from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, March 9, at Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah, and Saturday beginning at 10 a.m., one hour before the service, at Decorah Lutheran Church. Organist is Kathy Murray. Congregational hymns are “Beautiful Savior,” “Jesus Loves Me,” “Just As I Am” and “Beyond the Sunset.” Casket bearers are Eric Phillips, Patrick Landers, John Paul Landers, Michael Gagliardo and Rodney Houck. Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah is serving the family. Online condolences may be made at fjelstul.com.

Lorraine Marion Ida (Bigler) Houck was born Jan. 2, 1933, the first born of Lester and Myrtle (Ellingson) Bigler on the family farm in Pleasant Township, rural Decorah. At the age of seven, while attending Pleasant No. 8 rural school, Lorraine was so convinced her life calling was to be a teacher that she started saving school work in anticipation of using it in her future classroom. Her intuitiveness of her future vocation was fulfilled after graduating from Decorah Senior High School in 1951 and proceeding to Luther College to receive her two year teaching certificate, and then returning full circle back to teach at the school of her vocational epiphany: Pleasant No. 8. Lorraine continued teaching in the rural schools for seven years and was a third grade elementary teacher in the Decorah Community School system from 1964 until retirement in 1995. Lorraine’s gift to teach was fostered by an unquenchable excitement to see students gain mastery and understanding of subject material. A testimony to her efforts was receiving high school graduation invitations from her former third grade students.
Lorraine’s passion for teaching was also reflected in her 40 years of Sunday school and bible school participation at Decorah Lutheran Church. Additionally, Lorraine was one of the four founders of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Burr Oak; and long-term board member with the Winneshiek County Historical Preservation Commission and Pioneer Cemetery Commission.

Lorraine married Harvey Houck June 4, 1960, at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Locust. They were blessed with two children, Rodney and Pamela. Throughout their 57 years of marriage, they loved and supported one another, and mutually enjoyed local history, University of Iowa sponsored archaeology digs and great get-togethers with family and friends. Every fall Lorraine recruited Harvey to chase down the elusive monarch butterfly. Lorraine was part of an organization that tracked their Southerly migration. Lorraine and Harvey were fortunate to have one of their monarchs recovered in El Rosario, Mexico, 1,705 miles from Decorah.

Lorraine is survived by her husband, Harvey; her two children, Rodney Houck of Decorah and Pamela Houck (John Landers) of Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.; four step-grandchildren: Sally (Eric) Landers Phillips, Patrick (Ashley) Landers, John Paul (Erin) Landers and Mary (Michael) Landers Gagliardo; six step great-grandchildren: Sophie, Mary Clare, Thomas, Mick, Charlotte and Corver; three sisters and one brother: Muriel (David) Olsen of Louisville, Colo.; Kathryn Berg of Maricopa, Ariz.; Lois (Noren) Smith, Ionia and Steven (Deborah) Bigler, Fountain Hills, Ariz.; along with many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews.

Lorraine was preceded in death by her parents, Lester and Myrtle (Ellingson) Bigler; one sister, Evelyn (Bigler) Sersland; and one brother-in-law, Douglas Berg.