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Beatrice 'Bea''s Story

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Beatrice "Bea" May Houghton, 83, of Traverse City, passed away April 8, 2017 with family by her side.
Bea was born Nov. 23, 1933, to the late Edward and Iva (Donathon) Crouch in Brampton. Shortly after birth, Bea moved to Traverse City and grew up on a farm on the Boardman River with her parents and two younger sisters.
She went to Traverse City High School, where she met her future husband Gary. Shortly after being engaged, Gary joined the Air Force and was soon stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi. Bea with her strong will and determination, boarded a bus and took the trip to Biloxi where she and Gary were wed in 1953.
After Gary was discharged, Bea and he with two boys moved to Long Lake Township and settled in to what would be their forever home for the rest of their lives together. After giving birth to two more sons, Bea's family was complete.
Bea worked at Long Lake Elementary School, first in the cafeteria and then as the head librarian, for 25 years. After her retirement, the library was formally dedicated in her name as the Beatrice Houghton Library. In addition to that, she created and maintained a small library/reading room for the community at the Long Lake Township Hall. During this time she also was a member of the Woman's Auxiliary, a volunteer firefighter, captain and first responder for Long Lake Township Station "Red 10" for 33 years well into her 70's. She was very well known throughout the region's fire fighting community including being an active participant in the Northwest Michigan Volunteer Firefighters Association of which she was president in 1979. She was also very active in the Grand Traverse County Rural Board. Additionally, she attended many classes of continuing training on an ongoing basis and was always willing to be an advocate for anyone interested in furthering their education or becoming a volunteer firefighter. She enjoyed her time attending the National Fire Academy in Maryland, as well as her annual trips to Roscommon for the Michigan Fireman's Memorial Festival. While working at the school, she also worked for the Township, a job she continued for many years after her retirement with TCAPS. She was in charge of maintaining the Township beaches, parks and buildings and even found time to coordinate usage of the baseball fields. All her work in Long Lake Township lead to Bea being named the 1992 Good Citizen. She was also honored as a Michigan 150 First Lady Award Nominee in observance of Michigan's sesquicentennial. She also was very proudly named the 2008 National Cherry Festival Distinguished Senior and rode in the National Cherry Festival with pride to display it.
Bea was also very well known for her amazing cooking and often catered events for her friends, family and the community. No matter how busy Bea was, she always found time for her children and grandchildren. She never missed an event and loved planning for the holidays and reunions. She loved her time gardening and especially canning many assorted fruits and vegetables. In 1997, when Bea lost her husband, her determination and strength once again shined. Bea bought a camper and lived in it for a summer while she removed her old homestead and had a new one built in its place. She still continued her work with the Township, in the community and with her kids and grandkids.
Those closest would describe Bea as strong, caring, independent, stubborn, generous, hardworking, selfless and amazing. She was a true icon in Long Lake Township. She will be dearly missed by all those that knew her.
Beatrice is survived and missed dearly by her four sons, Delbert (Tammy), Wayne (Charlotte), Brian (Susan), and Mark (Shelley); 13 grandchildren, Eric (Jessie), Sarah (Chris McNally), Brittany (Brian Maurer), Danielle (Sean Mapes), Alex, Jeremy (Kelsea), Kelly (Joe Johnson), Brianne (Justin Hodson), Lindsay, Emily (D.J. Haste), John, Ethan, and Aubrianna; 13 great-grandchildren; and sisters, Wanda (Gerald) Korb and Rita Hansen.
A sincere thanks to Bea's special friends, Bill and Karen Rosa, your help and assistance in Bea's care over the last years was deeply appreciated. The family also would like to thank all the staff at Culver Meadows for their care of Bea over her last few months.
She was preceded in death by her loving husband, Gary; both of her parents; and one granddaughter.
Visitation will take place Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home from 5 to 7 p.m. A memorial service to honor Bea's life will also take place at the funeral home on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 11 a.m. with visitation one hour prior.
Bea's final resting place will be Linwood Cemetery with her husband.
In lieu of flowers, the family would like you to consider a special contribution to the Scholarship Fund of Bea Houghton of Long Lake Township. All memorials are placed in a Scholarship Fund in Bea's name for fire fighter education. Memorials may be sent in care of the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home, 305 Sixth St., Traverse City, MI 49684.
Please visit www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com to share your memories and condolences with the family.
The family is being cared for by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
Published on April 11, 2017
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