Deacon Peter Houck, who served
for 45 years, dies at 96

Deacon Peter Houck, a World War II veteran, educator, father and deacon, died May 16. He was 96.

Deacon Houck, a native of St. Paul, Minn., was ordained with the Archdiocese of Louisville’s first class of permanent deacons in 1976. He served at Epiphany and Holy Trinity churches and was assigned by Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly to serve as prison chaplain at the Kentucky State Reformatory in La Grange, Ky.

He served as a corporal in the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II before earning a college degree with assistance from the G.I. Bill. He was then commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve, serving in the Korean War, the Army Language School, Germany, Fort Knox, and Vietnam. He retired from active duty in 1970 as a Lieutenant Colonel.

After retiring from the Army, Deacon Houck earned a Master’s degree in applied theology from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif., which he put to use as a consultant for continuing religious education and formation of Catholic adults with the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Office of Religious Education. In this role, he helped develop the formation program for men preparing for the diaconate.

During his 16-year ministry at the Kentucky State Reformatory, Deacon Houck was instrumental in introducing a training program for volunteer inmates to accompany terminally ill prisoners without family or friends.

Deacon Houck is preceded in death by his daughters Marguerite Houck and Kate Alderete, and son-in-law Mark Fredwest.

He is survived by his wife Mary Lou, daughter Mary Elizabeth Murphy, sons Peter Thomas (Lisha) and John Gregory (Christy), seven grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, several nieces and nephews and lifelong friends.

A visitation will be May 23 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at St. Frances of Rome Church, 2119 Payne Street. The Mass of Christian Burial will follow the visitation at 11 a.m. Burial will be private.

Contributions in his memory may be made to an organization that supports the dignity of human life.

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