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December 21, 2013

Shirley A. Houck

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The Daily Star

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DELHI — Shirley Althea Houck, 87, died peacefully, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, at Bassett Hospital, Cooperstown.

Born June 3, 1926, in East Branch, to Harold and Hazel (Baker) Schneider, Shirley graduated Hancock Central School and attended Albany State University, where she met Robert Merle Houck. They married Nov. 8, 1946, coming to Delhi (1947), living here the rest of their lives. Merle died July 4, 1985, leaving Shirley a widow for 28 years.

After Merle's death, Shirley went to work full-time at the Delaware County Treasurer’s office, then worked part-time, until this year, in records management at the County Clerk’s office, a job she loved.

Shirley devoted countless hours in preserving the history of Delaware County and the Village of Delhi. She wrote the narrative to “The Delhi Jacquard Coverlets” booklet (1982); edited (along with Ann Marie Garti and Hugh N. Riddell), “Delaware County’s War Papers,” published under the auspices of Delaware County Board of Supervisors and County Historical Association; was editor of “The Evolution of Delaware County New York Being a History of its Land,” published for the 1997 County Bicentennial Celebration.

As Delhi Village Historian, Shirley was instrumental in the reprinting of “Civil War Record of the 144th Regiment New York Volunteer Infantry,” by James Harvey McKee, part of the Commemoration of Civil War Days in Delaware County (July 2-Aug. 13, 1994,) and was a proud contributor to “Honoring New York’s Forgotten Soldiers: African Americans of the Civil War,” by Harry Bradshaw Matthews, Hartwick College.

Shirley was named Delhi BPW Woman of the Year (1997); received the President’s Award from the United States Colored Troops Institute (2005) for her contribution in research and preservation of African American families and Civil War soldiers of Delaware County, and received the Delaware County Historical Association’s Award of Merit.

In 2001, the New York Planning Federation presented her with the Levine Award for Community Service for her dedication to the Village of Delhi, and also bestowed with Certificates of Appreciation and Recognition by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Delhi during her tenure as Village Historian.

Also predeceased were her parents; and sister, Anita Schneider.

A devoted mother, grandmother and great- grandmother, Shirley was always there for family.

Surviving are her son, Richard Houck; daughter, Linda Champlin, both of Downsville; four grandsons, (Robb, Joseph, Gary and Nick Champlin); two granddaughters, (Jamie Mabery and Crystal Houck); 10 great-grandchildren, (Melanie, Elizabeth, Connor, Gavin and Benson Champlin, Kayla and Travis Houck, Colin and Owen Ambrose and Chase Mabery); her sister, Lois, and husband, Lazell Petty, Worcester.

Visitation: 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, Hall & Peet Funeral Home.

Funeral services: 10 a.m. Monday, United Ministry. The Rev. Martha E. Vink, officiating. Burial: Riverview Cemetery, Roscoe.

Contributions: Delaware County Historical Association; Heart of the Catskills Humane Society or The United Ministry, Delhi, appreciated.

Arrangements entrusted to Robert A. Peet.