Remembering Luke Houghton

Hi Luke,

Your uncle John here.  I remember holding you in the scuba boat when you were a year old while DeDe went scuba diving in Baja.  You started crying, so I sang my opera songs as best I could.  I’m not sure if you thought it was beautiful, and it wasn’t enough to get you to totally stop crying, but it was something different, so you paid attention.  You were a great nephew and we are remembering you on your birthday.

Thanks,

John

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David’s Birthday Today

David Houghton

Today is David’s birthday.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to the fact that the family is gone.  I miss them and think about them a lot.  David was a loving brother and very protective of me.  I miss him and I miss them.

I remember on one summer in Italy, David got a boat for his birthday.  I think it was his 9th birthday.  It was a “2 person” inflatable raft.  We used to love going out in it when we went on our family camping vacations.  We used to go a lot to a lake just outside of Perugia, Lago Trasimeno.  We made lots of friends in the campground and liked taking them out in his boat.

Another time we went to Lago di Garda which is closer to the alps, colder, and more windy.  There was one windy day where my dad must have promised David he could use his boat before we went home.  It seems like we had a 10 mile-per-hour wind, but it was blowing steadily toward shore, so we were allowed to go out while dad watched us from the car with his binoculars, ready to jump to action if necessary.  My mom and sister were in the car too.  We had already packed up the campsite and made a stop by the water on our way out.

It was pretty rough and not too pleasant, but David was having fun.  My dad and brother had decided on some signals so my brother would know how far to go out.  It was a lot of work to keep from being blown up onto the shore.

Suddenly, dad gave the signal and David quickly navigated in, deflated the boat and rapidly folded it up – while wet.  Usually, we took a long time to let it dry and then carefully folded it, but this time it was hastily folded, stuffed in the trunk, and we were on our way home.  When we got home, we didn’t unpack and dry the boat, so it got moldy after a few months.  Luckily, a lot of it cleaned off as it hadn’t sat too long.

I still remember the rubber smell of the boat when he got it.  We had bought it at a store called Standa, similar to a small Kmart.  We would salivate over it each time our parents went shopping there.  After a while, our parents gave in and got it.  When we went to the lake, sometimes we would see bigger three and four person boats, which were very big to us and lots of fun to look at, even though they were everywhere.

In Perugia, we would window shop at a  Scuba shop with various gear and David was very interested in this.  I suppose he watched Jacques Cousteau in the states before we came to Italy, so that’s probably where it all started.

Anyway, back to the boat.  He was so excited to open the box on his birthday.  He slowly went through all the pieces and then proceeded to blow up each compartment with a foot pump.  After it was blown up, he took it out on our deck and sat in it in his bathing suit.  I put my bathing suit on too and convinced him to let me sit in it with him.  Little brothers didn’t always get their request granted, but this time he did.  After about 15 minutes my mom came out and was a little alarmed at what we were doing and told us to put the boat away and come inside.  I think the new concept of the boat, which could be dangerous in the water, made her react even though we weren’t in the water.

It was fun growing up with my brother.  He was a few years older, so he was always doing interesting things.  I remember in Italy, he used to complain about me following him around the house.  I wasn’t really conscious of it until he “caught” me doing it and then told on me.  I suppose I did it because it was boring to be by myself.  Other times, he didn’t mind me tagging along.

The following summer, I got a similar boat of my own and we would both take them out on Lago Trasimeno.  We were stronger by now and could get around pretty well, covering good distance with just a few strong strokes.  I remember one evening at sunset we were rowing around and zipping back and forth really well with our powerful strokes.

Another time when we had both of our boats out, we convinced some similarly aged girls to ride in our boats as we took them through a marshy area where the reeds made narrow canals that we had fun navigating through.  David an I were very cautious when they were in the boats, barking back and forth to each other as we carefully coordinated and choreographed our maneuvers through the canals.  The girls were a little scared, but it was fun to provide a tour for them with our formidable little boats.

I remember one birthday while we were in Perugia, he wanted a cake, but didn’t want any rum in it.  Actually at the time, that was really hard to find.  We took a half day with my mom to go through all of the bakeries we could find, and couldn’t find a cake without rum.  I remember going up to the shops, seeing a delicious looking cake, and asking the baker – they all had rum.  I don’t quite remember what we ended up doing, but it was a compromise.  Maybe we got him a double sized pastry of some sort.  I don’t quite remember.

Another sight in Perugia, I do remember seeing university students  living out of their backpacks on the streets.  They lived in the worst of conditions.  It seems like they were confined to certain areas and it was really bad.  We didn’t see that in 0ur home town of Padova.  We saw lots of things, good and bad, that shaped our experiences and our identities.  I suppose it made us diverse in our thinking and understanding of different cultures.  Italy doesn’t seem like it’s that different from America, but when you get there and live there, the culture, way of thinking and everything is totally different.  I think it’s good to be able to see situations from different perspectives.

David had his own set of friends at his school.  I remember feeling lucky because his school teacher was very strict, while mine was more laid back.  One time David threw a birthday party and had about 10 of his classmates over to play games and things.  I remember how excited they were and the high level of energy as they played.  They had a lot of fun.

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DeDe’s Birthday

What a special woman!  She was always thinking of others first and putting other’s needs before her’s.  As my family gets ready for a camping trip this summer, I look back at the family’s camping and backpacking photos.  What a great way to spend time together!

Nothing would stop David and DeDe from camping.  I remember in the late 90s we went on a SCUBA trip to Mulege where we would camp on the beach.  Luke was just an infant, but that didn’t stand in the way of anything!

One day, I was taking a nap in my palapa after diving and she put Luke right next to me as I was sleeping and took a picture.  Luke kept quiet and I didn’t know a thing until I saw the picture.  Good joke!

The picture here is a scan from a print, so I don’t know when or where it was taken, but it looks like it’s from the mid 90s.

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Happy Birthday Ryan!

Dear Ryan,

Happy Birthday!  You would have been 14.  I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately.  Actually, you and the family.  For a family that was so unique and ever-present for me, it’s hard to process that notion of always being there and then put it together with the notion of never being there again.  I’m starting to understand what that means though.  Whenever there is something special to share with you or someone else in the family, something that I know you would enjoy, you aren’t there.

I was just watching some videos of you and the family vacationing in Alaska.  You were such an amazing family!  I’m so glad I have those videos because I can re-experience you and remember what you were like.

I love you and miss you.  We’re all thinking about you on your birthday.

Love,

Uncle John

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Remembering Luke

Dear Luke,

I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately.   I wanted to wish you a happy birthday.  Since you’ve passed, I’ve received my amateur radio license, just like you.  I wish I could talk to you on the radio.  It wouldn’t be hard to talk, since I’m just a couple of dozen miles from you.  I would have loved to teach you more about technology.  We really miss you and we’re celebrating your birthday here.  Love, your Uncle John.

A remembrance from my sister:

And here it is, yet another year later, and the subscription cards to Harper’s continue to come, as well as all the dive magazines, and flight magazines, forwarded to my address. Stuff that would have been just more marketing annoyance, but now so significant in the way that it happens only because Luke was here to make it happen. I will be sad if they stop coming, and perhaps they never will (now that they have my name). Remembering your birthday today, Luke, I love you. Love Aunt Cathryn

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Best Brother

Dear David,  Remembering you on your birthday.  I will always remember the enthusiasm and positive energy you brought to my life.  You cared so much about me and my family.  You are the best brother anybody could ask for!  Love, John

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For Three Years

A post from DeDe’s mom, Linda Anderson…

For three years they have been out of my sight, but as I sit here thinking about them and am missing them so! I feel their love around me everywhere I go! In listening in the quiet of the night and I can hear them whispering to me their love as they say goodnight. When the sun shines down upon me I can feel their arms that warm me as they hold me oh so tight and the memories of times we’ve shared like a movie start to play and I am once again swept into loving play! This year I am healing not only from the loss, but my repairing of my body has me moving extra slow but I know that they are with me encouraging me so!

To move ahead but for now take it slow and remind me they are with me wherever I may go! The messages from Heaven are coming through so loud and clear and all I have to do is open up my Heart and Mind and let those messages in!So for all of you who wonder how I am doing and how I face this day, I hope I’ve answered your many questions and you can feel some Peace as I share with you this love they share and the strength I feel in knowing they are near! I am off to bed now with a heart overflowing and yes it is still hurting a great deal but each day that comes and each day that ends bring MEMORIES that I know will never end! I will love them forever and now believe they are not really gone! Mom & nana’s Love Forever!

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Happy 47th DeDe!

DeDe’s mom, Linda Anderson, asked me to repost this message from her Facebook page.  Linda would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below!

Happy 47th Birthday DeDe! This picture was taken when she first started teaching school and a very important part of her mission in life. Actually she was a great influence on me as her mother from the day she was born. She was rather shy at a young age and in was such a thrill for me to bear witness to her blossoming! The flowers in my garden of memories continue to bloom and bring a light and love to my life! My heart continues to break at losing her so soon but each day I give thanks to God for the “GIFT”! I will love you forever! Mom

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Happy Birthday DeDe!

Today is DeDe’s birthday.  I will always have fond memories of her.  She had a great sense of humor and infectious laugh.  Here she is in Egypt, kissing a Sphynx.  We will always remember you DeDe!  Love, John

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Happy Birthday Ryan

I was just thinking about Ryan yesterday.  I was thinking what it would have been like if they had not crashed their airplane and we had gone for our weekend away.  Ryan would have had a lot of fun with my daughter.  He loved my daughter.  Ryan would have been 13 today.  I was recently at a funeral for Gordon Smith of Santa Cruz.  I saw some of Luke’s friends.  They had grown to be nearly as tall as I am.  I came to more fully realized that Luke and Ryan will be frozen in time.  We’ll never see them older than the pictures we have.  I imagine Ryan would be a pretty big guy.  He had a stocky build.

We miss you and we’re thinking of you on your birthday, Ryan!

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Aqua Safaris Grand Re-Opening

I’m happy to say that today is the Aqua Safaris grand re-opeining sale.  The shop is under new ownership and we’re very happy about it.  We wanted to see David and DeDe’s work live on.  I was especially tied to the way David made the displays for the shop.  A lot of work was custom and functions only for storing scuba equipment.  There are places to store masks, snorkels, fins – all of it custom for those items and woodwork made with David’s hands.  He really took the time to do a good job.  If the shop didn’t go forward, all of that would have to be ripped out and that would have been very sad.  We are very happy that the shop is going forward.  It’s one of the few things of theirs that is living on.

Please support the shop and think of them when you need instruction, travel, equipment or tank fills.  Here is a link to the web site: Santa Cruz Scuba Diving.  The new owners are Charlie and Jayme Cooper.  Stop by to say hi!

Posted in Aqua Safaris Scuba Center, David Houghton Family, DeDe, Remembering | 1 Comment

A Cold Call From Luke

Today is Luke’s birthday.  He would have been 15.  I was just researching this morning what it takes to write good magazine articles.  I was reading that one should study several issues of a magazine before submitting an article, something I knew, but that’s when I thought of Luke.  The last time I subscribed to a magazine and read it regularly was because of Luke.  Back in 2010 or so, Luke cold called me to sell magazines.  I could tell he was reading from a script and I could hear DeDe in the background, coaching him.  How cute!  Of course I would buy some magazines, so I selected Entrepreneur Magazine and a few other similar publications.

What an enterprising young man!  Someone who has the guts to call and ask for a sale.  Of course, you wouldn’t say he was cold calling because I’m his uncle, but he was probably trying out his script and finding it is easier than you think to close a sale.  From what I understand, he went on to be one of the top sellers of magazines at his school.  Way to go, Luke!  I will remember you always and love you forever.  Your uncle, -John.

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David’s Birthday Today

Today is David’s birthday.  He was a great older brother and always protected me.  I remember when I was 6 or so and was playing at a new friend’s house up the street (he was 8, picture left).  There was some confusion about where I should be, home versus at the friend’s house, and he got into an argument with my friend’s mom.  “That’s my property,” he said while pointing to me, “and he’s coming with me.”  He won the argument and off we went.  I didn’t mind that he claimed me as his property because he was trying to say I was his family member and he was trying to look after me.  My mom must have sent him to come and get me.  Thinking about David on his birthday…

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Two Years Since The Accident

It’s been two years since the accident.  I was just thinking about my brother and his family.  He was so full of life and the family so full of happiness.  What a shock to see them go so quickly.  Intellectually I understand it, but emotionally, I still haven’t fully come to terms with it.  I think about the boys and how short their lives were.  I thought about myself when I was 10, what I was thinking and what I was like.  That’s the same age Ryan was when he died.  It’s even hard to write those words, and after seeing them on the screen, I come to realize a little more deeply what happened.  He’s gone ahead of us.  What a brave boy.

Above – Photo of the family from 2006, presumably during construction on their house in Mexico.

I remember Luke and his stories, all full of knowledge and the tone in which he would tell them.  I remember DeDe and her infectious laugh.  David had a different kind of laugh.  He would used to get the kids to eat their food by grabbing it off their plate and eating it.  I do the same thing with my daughter, and it works to an extent.

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Remembering DeDe on Her Birthday

A post from my sister Cathryn, dedicated to DeDe, today on her birthday.

Remembering you, as always, on your birthday today. Your laugh, your smile, your humor, your compassion, and caring for others, and how I miss my dear friend, sister, comrade in mothering, growing up and growing old together. Love Cathryn

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Scuba Dive Shop For Sale – Sold

Invest in a SCUBA Shop and get paid for seeing the world!

Tired of paying for expensive vacations that are too infrequent?  Every day you work hard so that you can do the things you love, like traveling and SCUBA diving, but you don’t get to do them often enough, and you have to pay big money to do it.  Now you can get paid to see the world, above water and underwater, by owning your own dive shop!

By owning your own dive shop, you get to vacation and dive as much as you want.  Previous owners went on 7 – 8 trips per year to places like Fiji, Galapagos Islands, Bikini, Cozumel, Hawaii, Jamaica, Maldives, Tahiti, Africa (including safari), Egypt, Indonesia, Thailand, and more!


This business is great for someone who loves SCUBA and likes not only to get the write-off trip and SCUBA expenses, but likes to get paid for going to exotic places while trying out the latest dive gear.  One of the other benefits of owning a dive shop is you meet a lot of people and make a lot of friends in a hurry, so this is definitely an opportunity for someone who likes social interaction.

The advantage of buying a business versus starting your own is that it eliminates all the time and money required to get established; count on five years or more.  In that time, you don’t get to enjoy the business because you’re busy marketing and getting established; people who don’t have exceptional marketing skills frequently don’t make it.  During the time when you’re getting established, you’re also pouring a lot of money into the business and covering your own salary. Add up five years of your salary to see what that’s worth. Let’s face it, you’d rather be teaching, diving, and traveling for 5 years than marketing a new business.  When you buy a company that is already established, that initial ramp up is already done, so you can immediately enjoy benefits of a successful business in scuba diving, teaching and adventure travel.


Here is what the Scuba Center offers:

  • Retail center with SCUBA inventory
  • Classes: SCUBA Diver, Advanced SCUBA, Rescue Diver, Divemaster, Assistant Instructor, and Nitrox
  • Dive Travel
  • Services: Airfills, Equipment Repair & Maintenance, and Rentals

The company has been in business since 1987 with an excellent reputation for safety, quality, and service.  The present location is also a valuable asset with visibility from Highway 1 in Santa Cruz, California, on the way to Monterey, Carmel, and Point Lobos.  We believe so much in the company that we invested last month in a new Bauer air compressor!

-John Houghton

— Update 9/25/13 —

Passing The Torch

News travels fast, and many of you may already know that Aqua Safaris is now under new ownership!  On behalf of the Houghton Family, both past and present, I would like to extend a warm and heartfelt thanks to the dive community of Santa Cruz and the many patrons of Aqua Safaris who encouraged and supported us through the difficult period following the loss of the shop’s owners, David and DeDe Houghton, in July 2011.  Since then our primary goal has been to sustain the diving enterprise launched by David in I987 and to provide excellent service to the regional diving community.  I have very much enjoyed getting to know many of you and being a part of this community of great folks united by a passion for diving.  Among all of us, the dedicated members of our staff and loyal patrons, the continuation of Aqua Safaris has truly been a community effort and a fitting memorial to our shared vision.  We made it, Aqua Safaris will continue, and we couldn’t have come to this point without you!  Thank you!  We are happy to entrust the enterprise to the experienced leadership and hands of Charlie Cooper, who brings an ideal combination of backgrounds in business, marine biology, and most importantly, a life-long enthusiasm for diving!  He has been diving for more than forty years and draws on a broad range of experience in instruction as a PADI Master Instructor.  While he shares the Aqua Safaris commitments to competence, quality, and integrity, the new energy and changes are already visible at the shop. Be sure to stop by to check it out, say hello, and stay tuned for exciting plans, new equipment lines, and expanded programs of both instruction and travel.  In the well known words of David and DeDe,

“Let’s go Diving!”

Cathryn Houghton

http://www.aquasafaris.com

Posted in Aqua Safaris Scuba Center, Remembering | 2 Comments

Bay Area Environmental Remediation Solutions Company For Sale

Looking to take advantage of the new real estate boom?  Now that investors have swooped in with cash and driven up property values, most of the recession induced bargains are gone, but there are still big opportunities for savvy investors who want to benefit from the rising real-estate market.

Now it’s possible to take advantage of trends by investing in solutions whose value increase as the market goes up, specifically, solutions that help transact properties with ground water or soil problems.  A lot of commercial properties have been sitting because they have problems that were not worth fixing, but now that their value has gone up, these properties are worth remediating and selling.

As we come out of the recession into growth, there is much pent up demand, and one thing is true about the San Francisco Bay area: there is only so much land. “Throughout Silicon Valley, developers are busy constructing new buildings and renovating existing properties to meet the needs of tech companies expanding their South Bay operations.”  Oakland Tribune, March 13, 2013.  Given the employment strength of the Bay Area and subsequent population increases, the need for commercial space will only fuel the demand for soil and groundwater remediation services.

Being in the bay area, you are in the right place at the right time to purchase and grow an established company whose services are in demand as real estate values appreciate.  This investment opportunity can set you up with a profitable and well positioned environmental remediation service.  You will also feel like you’re doing something positive because you’re helping the environment.

Profitable and in business since 1992, we serve Silicon Valley, the San Francisco Bay and Southern California.  The company has customers from Roseville to Los Angeles and we have two multi-million dollar CalTrans contracts in place.  This is an excellent opportunity as the real estate market recovers; many properties can’t be sold until soil and groundwater is inspected, tested, and toxic conditions corrected.

This company is a full-service environmental sciences, engineering, and consulting company specializing in soil and groundwater investigation and remediation, above- and underground storage tank (AST, UST) removal and disposal, and in the abatement of asbestos and lead. With comprehensive interdisciplinary environmental services, this company develops advanced, cost-effective strategies. The company has 20 years of experience in environmental, engineering, and technical services, environmental assessments, regulatory strategy, and chemical remediation.

Please contact John Houghton for inquiries at 650 888-1816 or email john at johnhoughton.com.

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Happy Birthday Ryan

A post from Cathryn Houghton, Ryan Houghton’s aunt.

Remembering you as always in celebration of your life here with us. With much love from your Aunt Cathryn.

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Christmas 2012

Post by Linda Anderson, DeDe Houghton’s mom.  Shown below, Luke and Ryan celebrating Christmas of 2010 in Mexico.

Here it is the 20th of December and I am spending the evening here at the blog, re-reading the special messages so many have left here over the last year and a half. Messages have stopped and maybe no one is reading the blog these days, but I feel a closeness just being here and sharing.
A few weeks ago as I was driving to my son Mitch’s to take my Christmas card picture with Bailey and Grant I was thinking about the many pictures I have from so many years (16 in all). I was thinking how when I started this annual tradition it would be something I could leave for my four precious grandchildren to remember me by and hopefully think and remember the times we shared. I never thought two would be gone and be real angels watching over me from above. As I was driving I looked at the clouds inthe sky, which I have always enjoyed and find peace while watching. All of a sudden as clear as could be was a staircase oin the clouds. I was so astounded I blinked and looked again, then I gave thanks for the message I received that they are only a few steps away from me and a reminder that one day I will walk those stairs and be with them all again.

A week later as I was in Sacramento again I was once again looking into the sky (yes I was driving and yes I was paying attention just peeking) and well if I had been pulled over and received a ticket for gazing distraction, I would have accepted the ticket and moved on continue my peeking. On that day there right in my view was the most beautiful cloud in the shape of a huge heart. Up in the left top curve was a perfect letter “k”, it took me a few minutes but I finally decided it was a message reminding me of their love and the “k” could be them telling me they are ok!

Christmas again without them here, and opening to the memories I hold so dear is painful and sad and yet when I look around me it is easy to believe that these messages I am receiving are from them and the comfort I find is so magnificient it is hard to put to words. Much has changed in all of our lives, children (well I guess us too) are getting older, we get caught up in our earthly lives, many are fearing 12/21/12 and some are finding humor in the fearful believers. Each of us wondering what the New Year will bring! Well for me I guess living in “this” moment and making the most of it is my comfort blanket that warms my body and my spirit. As each of you read this and are pondering your thoughts of David, DeDe, Luke and Ryan, just remember they are near and sharing each day with each of us no matter where we are or what we are doing. God and his wonderful gifts connect us and keep us connected if we just tune in. May you each be filled with Peace, Love, Joy and the loving Spirit of Christmas and each new day! Thinking of you all!

Loving hugs! Linda, Mom and Nana forever

Posted in David Houghton Family, Remembering | 5 Comments

Luke Would Have Been 14 Today

I write this short post while I wait in the airport for my flight.  I’ve been thinking a lot about the family lately and particularly about the boys and about Luke.  Today Luke would have been 14.  He would be just getting ready for High School in Fall.

Luke and I used to like to wrestle.  He was always looking for some way of beating me.  I used to enjoy talking to him at the dinner table and verbally sparing with him in jest.

I remember scuba camping with him when he was young.  When he was “let loose” he was always running around the camp site, looking for something fun and mischievous to do.  I really miss Luke.

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David Would Have Been 46

Today would have been David’s 46th birthday.  I really miss him.  It’s hard to believe someone so can be gone so quickly.  He had been around so much that it’s hard to believe he could ever be gone.  Left – Picture of David in Wakatobi in 2005. Continue reading

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Remembering the Beloved Family

It’s been hard to write in the last six months.  I really don’t have the words, but I felt like I needed to write something today, given that it will be a year tomorrow since they passed.  I’m still processing the reality of what has happened.  They were always away on so many trips all the time that it seems like they might still be on a long trip.   Continue reading

Posted in David, David Houghton Family, DeDe, Luke, Remembering, Ryan | 16 Comments

One Year Ago

A post by Linda Anderson, DeDe’s mom.

June 15, 2012 is the 1 year anniversary of the last times I shared with David, DeDe, Luke and Ryan. This week has been very difficult emotionally for me as I relive the moments of that last visit. We all shared dinner together the night of the 13th and that was wonderful as many times when I visited DeDe and David were working late and ate on the run, so to be able to all sit and share this time was so nice and ever so precious now as I remember and it being our last dinner together! Continue reading

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Mother’s Day 2012

A post from Linda Anderson, DeDe’s mom.  David, DeDe, Luke and Ryan died in a plane crash on July 7, 2011.  Picture below is the four of them on a backpacking trip in 2007.

Mother’s Day has always been special to me and it is because of my children.  To watch them grow from day one and meet the challenges in life and conquer their fears.  The lessons they taught me, the joy, love and caring they shared is immeasurable.  When God made mother’s he blessed the world!  My beautiful daughter DeDe was born to be a mother, the most important factors in her life were her boys Luke and Ryan.  She devoted her life to guiding them, pushing them ever so gently and supporting their efforts.  Her ability to find the perfect father for their sons was an effort she pursued and achieved!  He too saw the specialness of this woman, friend and love of his life.

My mother was special to me, besides a mother she was a friend, one that shared so many life experiences.  I learned to cook, sew and yes clean from her.  I learned about love and discipline, and I learned to go after what I wanted to achieve in my lifetime.  I miss her and as she and I shared Mother’s Day and my Birthday once in awhile it made the day even more special.

Last year DeDe gave me a beautiful card on which she wrote that she had a great teacher in me as her mother. The verse was about all the nice things mothers do, helping with the hair for school pictures, being there on the special days, like school graduations or recitals that allows them to share, the planning for the wedding and then the wonderful day when she is there to assist you and share in the arrival of the new birth of their children.  Then she hand wrote, “I chose this card because it says what I feel, but I really wanted to get the one that says a Good Mother lets her children lick the frosting from the beaters, but a really Good Mother unplugs the mixer first.”

I will have a wonderful Mother’s Day even though you my special DeDe will not be here physically, but the memories of the times we have shared, the joy you gave me in choosing me for you mother, and the heart full to overflowing with Pride at the lovely woman, friend, daughter and mother you were.

I also want to acknowledge another terrific mother, my daughter-in-law Cheri, who has always shared her love and the love she has for my son Mitch.  Together they are raising two children and are doing a great job, and should proudly embrace and give thanks for this wonderful opportunity to be a Mother and Father!

I love you all and am so proud to be your Mom!

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Remembering DeDe on Her Birthday

DeDe’s birthday is this Wednesday, April 4 and her mom, Linda Anderson, wrote something special (below).  DeDe and her family died in a plane crash in Watsonville on July 7, 2011.  Pictures were from the Houghton family’s 2010 visit to the California State Capitol and they show the family and Linda.

In July 1966 I became pregnant with my second child, for nine months I carried this little one close under my heart not knowing for sure if it was my little girl or a baby brother for Mitch.   Continue reading

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Remembering Ryan and a Poem

I got a note from Laura Perron who was out of the country for the bench dedication, but did return to the bench to remember Ryan on his birthday and put a special card up after cleaning their dedicated bench.  Ryan and his family of four died in a plane crash in Watsonville on July 7, 2011.  Excerpt of the note below.

“I wanted to share this photo with you. In celebrating Ryan’s birthday I made this “card” and we attached a necklace from the Dominican Republic….we knew how he loved his necklaces!

We went to the bench on Friday morning and wiped down the bench and attached the card. Ron and I sat there for about 30 minutes and talked about and remembered Ryan. It was a beautiful sunny day and the ocean was sparkling like a sea of diamonds. Off in a distance the sea lions were making a lot of there “talking” noises. We think of them all so often and miss them so much.”

We miss them too and not a day or night goes by when I don’t think about them.  I still remind myself about the tragedy even as I’m dreaming and I immediately wake up hoping that it was all a dream.

A poem by Wayne (Woody) Kenney, David’s SCUBA instructor.

Grey skies reflecting sorrow off wind blown waves.
A Family lost, remembered in the breeze.
Of sunny days below Egypt’s Red Sea.
Glowing sands down Mexico way.
Smiling, happy faces of those Four,
Our hearts will ever endure. Blue skies, fly away.
Loving Life, always adore.

Peace, IMWood

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Ryan’s 11th Birthday Today

By Linda Anderson, Ryan’s grandmother.  Ryan passed away with his family in a plane crash on July 7, 2011.

Left, Ryan on the day he was born.

March 2, 2001, found the Houghton family of three heading to the birthing center in Santa Cruz to welcome Ryan David.  I remember I was driving from Sacramento and it was 4:30 am and I was hoping I would get there before he made his entry to this world.  Well, he arrived just moments before me (think I was parking the car).  When I entered the room everyone was beaming and Luke was chattering nonstop about his new brother.  Our little man with his green eyes brought joy to our hearts that day and everyday of his life thereafter.   Continue reading

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Bench Dedication, Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 11:00 AM

There will be a bench dedication for the Houghton Family Bench by the Boy Scouts  on Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 11:00 am.  All are welcome. Continue reading

Posted in David, David Houghton Family, Remembering | 16 Comments

First Christmas Without Them

Sorry it has been such a long time since I’ve written.  It seems that once I got out of the daily habit, I stopped writing altogether.  At some point I also had to get back to my family and career because daily blog posts took a lot of time.

Left – A shot of David opening a present at Christmas.  He looks three and a half years old.  That’s me (John) in the background, about one and half, and my sister (Cathryn) to the right (almost five years old).

It never ceases to amaze me about what a terrible thing it was that happened over the summer.  I think about them every day and find myself comparing everything to them.  For example, if I come across something that I wrote before July, I want to go back and tell myself, “Hey, this was a time when you could have dropped everything and gone to see them.”  I really miss them and it still hasn’t sunk in – everything that has happened.

Sometimes, I would only see them twice a year, and definitely not at Christmas time.  They were always on a trip.  I think resorts offer steep discounts (for the holidays) and so David would always try to take advantage of that by taking a group or taking his family.  Because they were always gone at Christmas, this has been a normal holiday, although Thanksgiving was hard.

I remember many years ago, when Luke was 6 and we were having Thanksgiving at my parents house.  I wanted to do Luke a favor by helping serve him food, but he got mad at me and started crying, “I wanted to do it myself!”  I tried to tell him that I was just being polite by helping him – he sort of bought it, but he still wanted to get his own food.  He was very independent!

Do any of you have memories of the Houghton family to share?

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Christmas 2011

Post from Linda Anderson, DeDe Houghton’s mom.  Click on image for larger size.

As 2011 comes to an end, I have been trying to decide how to write my Christmas letter!  So much has happened in this year, starting last January I said my farewell to my baby sister Nancy as she gave up her fight with this earthly life, a week later my job ended and I found myself retired with much time on my hands.  I was starting to look at my future and what I should do with the rest of my life, or at least the rest of the year.  In February my dear friend and first boss in Nevada County Maggie Smith passed from this life,  again leaving a question about life’s purposes and circumstances.  I was considering a possible move, to get closer to family and David talked to me about a possible change to moving to their property in Baja Mexico at least a few months out of the year, a place they loved and they assured me that they would fly down and spend probably more time with me then they did living 4 hours away.  Circumstances again played in my delay from making that decision.  Mitch, Cheri, Grant and Bailey still live within an hour and a half from me and I wondered how I could move away and leave them for longer times.  Mitch is still working for Steritech and is doing very well and has expanded his area to Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Nevada as well as the northern California region.  Cheri continues with her job and home they stay busy with the many activities Grant and Bailey are involved in.  Bailey enjoys softball and is on the summer and winter leagues.  Grant is a sophmore and very involved with highschool, and enjoys spending time with his friends and is looking forward to getting his driver’s license next spring.

On July 7th, life dealt a blow that has changed our lives forever when we lost our David, DeDe, Luke and Ryan in a tragic airplane crash.  Daily I ask myself why and have to call upon my faith and trust in God to find a peace that allows me to continue to count my blessing and cherish the love that they shared with me!  I miss them and they are constantly in my thoughts.  As Christmas comes I find myself thinking more about Gods love and I am so thankful for all of the angels he has sent to love and comfort me.  Their many friends shared their love in each picture and each gesture they did when they put together the celebration of the four lives and they continue to remember and support in their sharing.  I have been blessed with many new friends and the renewal of old friendships.   I find that music and songs bring peace and help me focus on this love, the friends and family that are here to support and care so lovingly.  Their lives were so full of adventure and wonderful moments, they touched so many where ever they were.  Friends they had many and enemies none!  This boys knew of love and peace and are a big part of my Christmas picture this year.  My wishes are for us all to continue to build memories, live life to the fullest and share your love because  we never know when that is what we will have left. Thank you to all of you my angels and we all wish you Peace and love this holiday season and in the New year.

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