Dr. Dan Houser passed away peacefully at home on March 8th 2021, surrounded by his loving family, following a heroic battle with Pancreatic cancer.
Dan Houser, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, was born May 24, 1937 at home, in Columbus, Kansas. In elementary school he was taught by his mother in a one room rural school house. After he graduated from Columbus High School in 1954, at the age of sixteen, he farmed for a year. In the fall of 1955, he decided to go to college at Kansas State University. He was there for all but one semester, when he attended Pittsburg State College. Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity at K-State was his home while in his under-graduate program, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Husbandry. He then graduated from Kansas State Veterinary School as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1963.
Dan worked to put himself through college during his summer vacations and during school. For three summers he worked at the US Forest Service in Pierce, Idaho and for two summers he worked as a farm hand in Columbus, Kansas. The summer before his graduation he completed an internship with a veterinarian in Phoenix, Arizona. His second year in college, he was a houseboy for the Kappa Delta Sorority and his fourth year he was a houseboy at the Alpha Omega Sorority. His pay was his meals. To pay for his tuition and books for Veterinary School, Dan worked almost full time at the Dugout and at Kites, which were student bars and grills.
Dan met his wife, Betty (Love) Houser the summer of 1956 when she visited her sister who lived in Columbus. He visited her the next summer at her home in Rocky Ford, Colorado, and they developed a long distance relationship, which culminated in their marriage in 1963. He served in the Air Force for three years, living in Japan during the Vietnam War. Dr. Houser took care of the Sentry dogs and had a small animal clinic for the U.S. Air Force family pets, and served as the base food inspector as well. During that time Dan and Betty were able to travel throughout Southeast Asia.
Dr. Houser was honorably discharged from the Air Force as a Captain in 1966. He and Betty moved to California, where he worked as the veterinarian for Woodard Asiatic Corporation, which imported monkeys from India. In 1968 they moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where he became Chief veterinarian and Head of Veterinary Services at the Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center. He remained in that position for 27 years. While at the Center he delivered, by caesarean, the world’s first in vitro baby monkey, named “Petri”. In 1982, he became one of the first people in the United States to become Board Certified in Laboratory Animal Medicine.
After their three children were launched in 1995, Dr. Houser retired from the Primate Center. He and Betty decided to move to a warmer climate and chose Carl Junction, Missouri, which was near his hometown and family. He spent the remaining years of his career as a companion animal veterinarian at Dr. Jack Capron’s Madison Animal Clinic in Webb City, Missouri. He retired from the clinic in 2001.
Soon after retirement he joined the Dogwood Trailblazers, the local American Volksporting Association walking club. He and Betty walked with that group in towns and cities all over Missouri for nearly twenty years. They also traveled to over thirty foreign countries, often with their children and grandchildren. In his final years Dan spent his time reading, doing puzzles (especially Sudoku), exercising and following Facebook, where his children and grandchildren entertained him with their active lives. He often said, “I’ve had a good life!”
Dan is survived by his wife Betty, his children Daniel (Patty) of Burke, Virginia, Theresa (Allen) Damrow of Janesville, Wisconsin, Thomas (Tina) of California, grandchildren Ashley and Austin Damrow, and Daniel Houser, and sister Rose Marie Sprague of Olathe, Kansas. He was preceded in death by his parents Charlie and Bernice and his brother Charles.
Dan was a devoted, loving and supportive husband, father and grandpa. He was a steady source of wisdom and comfort to his family, who will always love him and are devastated by his loss. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
Dan’s family offers a special thanks to Dr. Samir Dalia and the Oncology department at Mercy Hospital, as well as all of the wonderful and caring hospice staff at Integrity.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, March 12, at Hedge-Lewis-Goodwin Funeral Home with Roger Flint officiating. The family will receive friends for visitation at 10:00 a.m. Friday until service time. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society in care of the funeral home. Arrangements are under the direction of Hedge-Lewis-Goodwin Funeral Home, Webb City, Missouri.