Martha Joann Houk, 70, of Topeka, Kan., was lovingly taken home by her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Sept. 1, 2007, at Stormont-Vail Hospital, Topeka, Kan., following a battle against cancer. JoAnn was born on June 4, 1937, to Martin Joseph and Mary Kathryn (Frewing) Werner at the family farm located at the first corner north and one mile west of St. Augustine Catholic Church, in Fidelity, Kan. In her earlier years, the Werner family moved to the Kincaid area, where JoAnn attended one-room country schools, then Kincaid High School. On June 6, 1954, JoAnn married Joseph Benjamin Houk in Moran, Kan. JoAnn was a devoted military wife and homemaker for most of her life. From 1961 to 1968, Joe and JoAnn owned and operated the Houk Insurance Agency in Moran. Joe returned to service in the U.S. Navy, which sent the family coast to coast until his retirement in 1978. JoAnn loved the challenges and rewards of creating sanctuaries open to all as was evident by the homes she made in Norfolk, Va., San Diego, Calif., Oxnard, Calif., Durango, Colo., Eagle Butte, S.D., and all the family homes in Kansas ( Augusta, Humboldt, Lawrence, Bronson and Topeka). In her later years her grandchildren were the light of her life. She adored them all, as they adored her, and she was the greatest cheerleader, making every sporting event, dance, academic, music, church event and graduation that she could.
Surviving is her husband, Joe, of Topeka; Five children and their spouses, Karen and Mike Jones, Oak Harbor, Wash., Nancy and Cory Izett, Whitefish, Mont., Jan and Steve Crawford, formerly of Chanute, now Topeka, Kurtis and Patricia Houk of Lawrence, and Lori J. and Rick Stephens, Bronson. She was blessed with 10 grandchildren: Katherine Jones, Justin and Scott Izett, Canda Harvey and Caroline Crawford, David Kearney, Aric and Erina Houk, and Conor and Riley Stephens. Also surviving is her mother, Mary Werner, Bronson; and siblings, Bill Werner, Winston-Salem, N.C.; Tom Werner, Cherryvale, Kan.; Leo and Vicki Werner, Newton, and Delores and Gary Smith of Topeka; as well as brother-in-law, Lyle Osborn, Overland Park; and sister-in-law, Leona Werner, Chanute, and Sheryl Werner, Parsons; and several nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her father, a sister, Cynthia J. Osborn, and two brothers, Martin "Pete" Werner and Kenneth F. Werner. The family wishes to express their gratitude for the loving care given to JoAnn in her last week of life by the nurses and staff of Stormont-Vail and Heart of America Hospice.
Pastor Chub Bolling will conduct graveside services at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5, in the U. S. National Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 7-8 p.m. Tuesday at Cheney Witt Chapel and also from 11:30 a.m. Wednesday until leaving for the cemetery. Memorials are suggested to the American Cancer Society and may be sent to Cheney Witt Chapel, P.O. Box 347, Fort Scott, Kan. 66701. Online condolences may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org