Bruce Robertson Houghton, Sr., Elkhorn, WI (1920-2014)
April 29, 1920 - June 28, 2014
Bruce Robertson Houghton, Sr, "Old Hoot", 94, of Elkhorn, WI, died after a brief illness on Saturday, June 28, 2014, at Geneva Lake Manor, Lake Geneva, WI. He was born April 29, 1920, in Eagle, WI, the son of Orley and Marion (Robertson) Houghton. Bruce worked hard on the family farm in LaGrange, WI, but always had an interest in cars and machinery. He graduated from Whitewater High School in 1938, and would soon volunteer for the US Army Air Corp. He bravely served during World War II in the US Air Corp from 1939 to 1945. He flew in B-17, B-24s and lastly in B-29 bombers. As flight engineer and tail gunner on the B-29 Super fortress in the China-Burma-India Theatre, he was stationed in India, China, and the Philippines, to conduct bombing raids against the enemy. He was awarded a number of citations, including their highest honor, The Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery during bombing missions over Japan, and in the Pacific Theatre. Bruce was especially proud that all 11 members of his crew survived and returned home. He was the last of those 11 crew members, who were part of the "Greatest Generation." Bruce married Louise Mary Dobrick on March 21, 1947, in Kenosha, WI. Louise was the love of his life and after a long fight with cancer; she died Jan. 26, 1983, at the age of 63. They lived on the family farm in LaGrange, all their lives and would raise two sons-Bruce Jr. and Bill. Bruce was an expert mechanic and after WWII first worked for a transmission garage in Janesville, WI, and then at the Ford dealership in Elkhorn. He longed to start his own business and in the late 1950's, he converted an old barn on the Houghton Farm in LaGrange, into a garage. He co-owned and operated Bruce and Bobs Auto Repair, with Bob Martin. Bruce would become the sole owner in the early 1960's and renamed his garage Bruce's Auto Repair. For the next 40 years he worked on cars, trucks, combines and farm machinery of all types and size. He had hundreds of loyal customers who could rely on "Old Hoot" to fix anything. He especially loved to work on old, classic cars. He owned a 1951 Mercury he named "Priscilla" that was his pride and joy. He lovingly restored it to like new condition and could often be seen driving it in parades in Elkhorn, and entered many car shows around the state. Bruce joined the International Mercury Owners Association and was proud to be its oldest member. Bruce was especially proud of his service during WWII and was a member of the 20th Air Force Association, China-Burma-India (CBI) Veteran's Association and the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Legion.
Bruce is survived by his two sons, Bruce (Patty) Houghton Jr. of Elkhorn, WI, and Bill (Anne) Houghton of Sequim, WA; seven grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and three sisters.
At Bruce's request, no memorial service is planned. However, a private burial with friends and military rites will be held at Round Prairie Cemetery at a later date. Arrangements completed by HAASE-LOCKWOOD & ASSOCIATES FUNERAL HOME AND CREMATORY, Elkhorn, WI. On-line guestbook is at www.haaselockwoodfhs.com.
A special thank you to Sue and Larry Ferry for years of devoted loving care and to Eileen Andrews, Fred Roberson, Joe and Ruby Pylest, Doug Moreland and Pat McKimmey for the phone calls, visits, outing and special care packages in recent years that gave Bruce so much pleasure. Also for their wonderful care, we thank the doctors, nurses and staff at Aurora Lakeland Medical Center, Geneva Lake Manor and Kindred Hearts of Elkhorn.