Phyllis Ann Houghtby, 89, died Friday, October 21, 2011 at St. Dominic Hospital.
Mrs. Houghtby was born on December 5, 1921, in Ridgeville, Indiana, the daughter of the late George Washington Coons and May Spouse Coons. A graduate of Highland Park High School in 1940, she continued her education at Highland Park Junior College, earning her Associate’s Degree in 1942. Mrs. Houghtby accepted an office position with Jam Handy Organization, a company assisting the war effort by making training films for the US Navy. After the war, she studied bookkeeping, shorthand and typing at Detroit Business College, and later in life studied computer data processing at Oakland Community College. While raising her family, she accepted a position at Control Data. Mrs. Houghtby also had a successful Avon business while caring for her husband and raising her family.
Mrs. Houghtby was a faithful member of The United Methodist Church, having met her husband Harlan in 1942, while attending youth group and the Tower Belles Sunday School Class at Trinity Methodist Church in Highland Park, MI. They were married there on September 18, 1948.
A 35-year resident of Jackson, she was a former member of Aldersgate UMC, Wesley UMC, and has been a member of St. Matthew’s for 17 years. Active in the Mississippi UMC Conference, she served as Lay Delegate to the Annual Conference for both Aldersgate and St. Matthew’s. A long time member of the United Methodist Women, she recently was awarded her 54 year pin and was featured in the Mississippi Christian Advocate for her accomplishment. She also served as the Conference Treasurer of the Mississippi Conference United Methodist Women, and was active in many local units, holding various offices throughout the units. Mrs. Houghtby was a dedicated 20 year volunteer at Contact-The Crisis Line and served as the organization’s Treasurer for many years. Mrs. Houghtby was also a member and Past Mississippi State President of Church Women United, an organization fostering cooperation across denominational, and racial/ethnic borders.
Mrs. Houghtby will most be remembered as a beloved wife, a cherished mother, a devoted grandmother, and a loving friend. Her dedication for her own children carried over into her passion for taking care of needy children around the world.
Survivors include: her beloved husband of 63 years, Harlan Houghtby of Brandon; daughter, Delphine Hogston of Muskegon, MI; son, Dennis Houghtby of Clinton; daughter, Sylvia Nicholas of Kalamazoo, MI; daughter, Natalie K. Houghtby-Haddon of Washington, D.C.; grandchildren, Christopher Nicholas and his wife Collette of Chicago, IL; Heather Nicholas of Kalamazoo, MI; Thomas Nicholas and his wife, Laura Burt- Nicholas of Chicago, IL; Benjamin Hogston and his wife, Mandi Garvey of Grand Rapids, MI; Noah Hogston of Muskegon, MI; step grandchildren, Andrew Hogston, his wife Dana and family, also of Muskegon, and Daniel Hogston, his wife Kathy and family of Charlotte, NC; great grandchildren, Sofie Grace Garvey-Hogston, and future great grandchild Baby Nicholas due in January; sister-in-law Donnette Coons of Spokane, WA, cousin Herbert Larr of Detroit, MI, and many other loving family members. In addition to her parents, Mrs. Houghtby was preceded in death by her brother, Robert M. Coons, and her sons-in-law, David Nicholas and Richard Houghtby-Haddon.