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MASON CITY ? Jerry Houser, 73, died Tuesday, (Apr. 17, 2007) at the IOOF Home in Mason City under the care of Hospice of North Iowa following a diagnosis of lung cancer March 20. A Celebration of Life service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Unitarian Universalist Society, Iowa City. Per his wishes he was cremated. Gerald Larry Houser was born Feb. 23, 1934, in Red Oak, Iowa, the son of David Percy and Rosemary (Scherer) Houser. His early childhood was spent living with his grandparents, Frank C. and Sidney Mae (Tenney) Scherer in rural Montgomery County, Iowa. He returned to live with his mother in 1943 after her marriage to William Dale Miller. Jerry survived two early life threatening accidents, swallowing gasoline at age three and shooting himself in the stomach at age 15 while hunting rabbits. He graduated from Red Oak High School in 1951 lettering in football and playing tuba (by ear) in the marching band. He often practiced the tuba afternoons on the school bus ride home. He enrolled in the University of Iowa as a chemical engineering major but after one semester decided it wasn?t what he wanted. He wrote to his high school classmates in 2001 ?A real dilemma, I had no clue to what direction I would want to go. The search went on for nearly 35 years.? Following his brief college experience he worked in a variety of jobs, mostly sales, and moved about often. During those years he had ??probably 30 different jobs, three wives and six kids.? In 1981 while working in a factory in Iowa City he was over exposed to a toxic chemical and forced to leave to preserve his health. During his physical recovery he moved to his family?s farm, Rainbow Acres near Riverside, Iowa, and began his ?digging in the dirt? horticulture experiments that evolved into a burgeoning pumpkin and potted herb enterprise. By 1987 the business had outgrown Rainbow Acres and he located an abandoned greenhouse complex near Tipton, Iowa, that was built during the early 70?s hydroponic tomato craze. Golden Acres began operating in 1988 and business took off, doubling sales every year for the first seven years. Pumpkins were eventually dropped, the herbs expanded and a full range of perennials added. Over 2000 varieties were grown, with markets in three states and over 100 stores, including Wal-Mart, Kmart, Home Depot and HyVee. Sales volume quickly topped a million dollars. He had finally found his life passion. Nearing age 70 and following the death of a partner, Jerry sold the business in 2003 and retired to a near-prefect rural 40-acre sanctuary near Corydon in Wayne County. A failed knee replacement left him in a wheelchair and unhappily restricted his plan to once again spend his time ?digging in the dirt.? He did, however, find pleasure in feeding the abundant birds and wildlife that visited daily, including nightly forays from skunks, raccoons and opossums that savored the dog food he purchased just for their suppers. Jerry?s rebirth as a faithful follower of Jesus Christ thirty years ago was a life changing transition for him; he found atonement in caring for his family and friends. During his last days he received long visits from his immediate family and soul searching dialogues with his many spiritual counselors that resulted in his peaceful passing. He was a member of the Church of Christ, his last affiliation with the Sunnyslope Church of Christ, Promise City. He is survived by his first wife Gladys (Lowe) Treadway and their children, Sherylnn Kay Houser, East Point, FL, Larry Martin Houser, Pleasant Valley, IA, and Gayle Renee? Houser Bush, Coal Valley, IL. Grandchildren include Misty Gail Parenzan, Destin, FL, Jason Houser, Duluth, MN, Caanan Bush, Malibu, CA, and Brittany Bush, Newbury Park, CA. Great grandchildren are Travis Perry, Bryana Perry, Dilan Parenzan, Destin, FL. Children from later marriages are Mark Elliot (Houser) Kolpek, Texas, and Jessica (Houser) Betts, Arkansas, who were adopted by their stepfathers. Also surviving are his sister Mary Ellen Miller, Mason City, brother David Dale (Janet) Miller, Blairstown and faithful cousin Charles (Mary Ellen) West, Bode. He was preceded in death by his parents and infant son Mark Allen Houser. Memorials may be sent to his favorite charity, the Salvation Army, or to the Iowa Arboretum in Madrid, Iowa.
2:00 PM to 2:00 PM at on April 23, 2007 (map/driving directions) 2:00 PM to 2:00 PM at on April 23, 2007 (map/driving directions)
10:30 AM at on September 29, 2007 (map/driving directions)
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