June 8, 1934 - November 10, 2019
Betty Clare Houser, 85, of Belmond, Iowa, passed away on Sunday, November 10, 2019. There will be a rosary at 5pm and visitation will be Friday, November 15, 2019 from 5:30 - 8:30pm, and funeral services will be held Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 10:30am, all at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Belmond. Burial will be in the St. Francis Xavier Cemetery.
Betty Clare was born on June 8, 1934, to Roy and Gladys (Barry) Henderson, in Belmond, Iowa. She was valedictorian of her Belmond High School class of 1952. Education was very important to Betty Clare. She often laughed about her undergraduate education. Due to health reasons, she attended the College of St. Catherine's, the University of Minnesota, Drake University, and finally graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1956. While at Iowa, she met her future husband, Jim, and was crowned Sweetheart of Sigma Chi.
Betty Clare enjoyed a long and distinguished career as an educator. She taught for two years in Forest City, then taught at Franklin Middle School in Des Moines. She finished her 40+ year teaching career as an English teacher in the junior high and high schools in the Belmond-Klemme School District.
In the 1990s, she declared that her husband and her children had advanced degrees but she did not, which was the catalyst for her to earn her Masters of Arts in Education degree from Drake University when she was 56 years old. Thereafter, she completed Levels I and II of the Iowa Writing Project.
Betty Clare believed each of us should contribute to the greater good of our society. She practiced what she preached. Betty Clare was a proud and dedicated member of the Iowa Council of Teachers of English (ICTE) where she held the offices of treasurer, president, and conference co-chair. She also was a co-founder, treasurer, and publicity chair of the Top of Iowa Council of Teachers of English.
Betty Clare's service at the state level catapulted her to the national stage, where she served on the Executive Council and Board of Directors of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). She also served as associate chair of the Secondary Section Committee, as an at-large Secondary Section representative for the NCTE Standing Committee on Affiliates, and chaired the Selection Committee for NCTE's David H. Russell Award Committee. Along the way, Betty Clare presented and led numerous discussions at ICTE and NCTE conferences.
After retiring from teaching, Betty Clare worked tirelessly with the Latinas/Latinos al Exito organization, which promotes the advancement of Latinos in the State of Iowa. She organized the Belmond chapter and served on the organization's Executive Board. She also served on the selection committee for the North Iowa Area Community College Performing Arts and Leadership Series.
In recognition of her service, Betty Clare was the recipient of many awards including the ICTE Distinguished Service Award, the ICTE's Past President's Award and the Belmond Jaycee's Outstanding Educator Award. In 2016, Betty Clare was honored as the 2016 Woman of the Year by the Clarion chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).
Betty Clare was a member of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, where she was a lector and catechist. She also was a member of the Catholic Daughters of America.
Betty Clare was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. She loved to spend time with her family and friends, boating at Lake Cornelia and skiing on the slopes of the Rocky Mountains. She achieved her long-time goals of skiing Vail mountain to celebrate her 70th and 75th birthdays.
Betty Clare was preceded in death by her parents, Roy and Gladys Henderson, her parents-in-law, Paul and Dorothy Houser, her son, Michael Houser, and her daughter-in-law, Holly Houser Simons. Survivors include her husband, James E. Houser; Michael's children, Brendan and Megan; her son, John (Jennifer) Houser and his daughter, Emma; her son Thomas Houser and his children, Charlie and Clare; and her daughter, Molly Ann (Bruce) Kuebler and her three children, Barry, Michael and Clare Marie.