In 1990, Gordon and Joan Terry purchased the Houk-Johnston Funeral Home from Bill and Wanda Johnston. They renamed it the Houk-Johnston-Terry Funeral Home for they felt that each past owner had been an intricate part of its history. Over the past years they have heard numerous stories about Clarence, Doris, Bill, Wanda, and their families. They have heard how the caskets were pushed against the walls in the casket showroom, so the gang could roller skate while the parents stepped out for a church dinner; or how another member of the family fell asleep when they should have been washing the hearse. It would take pages upon pages to retell all the wonderful and funny stories that have been told, but all have been appreciated.
Gordon, the son of Gordon W. and Muriel (Nonnemacher) Terry was raised in New Hyde Park, LI. He was an Industrial Arts teacher, graduating from SUNY Buffalo, and taught at Roslyn High School for twenty-one years. As a child he had told his mother he would be a Funeral Director, which he did in 1982. Gordon also taught Mortuary Science at SUNY, Farmingdale prior to moving to Edmeston. He too is an active participant in life. A member of the Lions Club since 1978, the F & AM, the Edmeston Fire Dept., Otsego County Republican Party, American Legion Post #1311, the NYS Funeral Directors Association serving on several boards, the Leatherstocking Funeral Directors Association, and the National Funeral Directors Association. However, his first love is cars. When here please ask to see the 1979 Rolls Royce and his first antique car a 1955 Chevrolet BelAire Sports Coupe.
Joan, also a licensed Funeral Director, is the daughter of William and Anita (Mackey) Kuhn. She married Gordon in 1984 at their home in Northport, LI. Prior to her receiving her Funeral Directors License she had been employed in operations and human resources in the retail field. She is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, Fire Dept. Auxiliary, Area Council of Churches, Edmeston Tea Circle, the Leatherstocking Funeral Directors Associations, NYS Funeral Directors Association, and the NFDA.
Gordon R. Terry, CFSP, and Joan Kuhn Terry, CFSP, have qualified for the certification of the designation of Certified Funeral Service Practitioner (CFSP), by the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice (APFSP), since 2004. They are recertified each year.
A number of professions grant special recognition to members upon completion of specific academic and professional programs. CFSP is the national funeral service individual recognition. The Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice was founded in 1976 and has three main goals: 1) to recognize funeral directors who have voluntarily entered this program of personal and professional growth, 2) to raise and improve the standards of funeral service, and 3) to encourage funeral directors to make continuing education a life-long process in their own self-interest, the interest of the families they serve, and the community in which they serve.
Accreditation and recertification by the Academy must be completed in these four areas: Academic Activities, Professional Activities, Career Review, Community and Civic Activities.
Both Gordon and Joan want you to have the best possible funeral service for your loved one. Their expertise is designing with you the funeral that is perfect for your family.
Several years ago they noticed a need from their clientele and addressed it. They produced a simple booklet--
Selected Biblical Readings to be given to the family prior to meeting with clergy. This way the family has a chance to review the material and preselect scripture that would be appropriate just for their loved one. But this is only one of many options for you when designing the funeral service.
It all began with Clarence C. Houk, son of Charles and Hettie (Potter) Houk. He established the Houk Funeral Home in Edmeston in 1929. Clarence was an active member in the community serving on the Fire Dept., Cemetery Board, and was also a Charter Member of the Edmeston Rotary. He was past master of the F & AM, the Yahnundasis Bodies of Utica; and the following Funeral Directors Associations: the Ninth District, the NYS Funeral Directors, and the National Funeral Directors.
Back in the early 1930’s a funeral home’s hearse was also the local ambulance service, and the Houk Funeral Home was no exception. Clarence and many other dedicated community members would rush to the scene in hopes of transporting the victim safely to the nearest hospital. Many a time our small rural hospitals could not provide what was needed and Clarence would then transport them to Albany via Route 20. A long and arduous trip especially in bad weather.
Clarence married Doris Burton in 1924. She would help by arranging flower baskets, and organizing all that needed to be done before and after the funeral. Clarence employed many local towns people to either help clean the hearse, set up chairs, mow the lawn, or help him transport the deceased to their own home for calling hours.
Due to ill health Clarence merged his funeral home with the Johnston Funeral Home, of Brookfield in 1956.
William T. Johnston and his wife Wanda became the new proprietors. William (Bill) had been raised in Danville, Pa. He had been previously employed by Fairchild's Funeral Home, NYC where he had met and married his wife Wanda Sobey in 1936. They moved to Brookfield in the late 1940’s and purchased the Mumbulo Funeral Home, which merged with Houk Funeral Home in 1956.
Bill and his wife Wanda were also active members in the community. Bill served in the Brookfield Fire Dept., he was also the Brookfield Town Supervisor. Later in Edmeston he served in the Edmeston Fire Dept. where he was one of the charter members and organizers of the Edmeston Emergency Squad. He had been an active Boy Scout Leader, member of the Rotary, American Legion Post #1311, and the F & AM. He served as a State Director for the New York State Funeral Directors Association and was a member of the Ninth District Funeral Directors Association. Wanda was a member of the Second Baptist Church, the American Legion Auxiliary, and Fire Dept. Auxiliary. She would meet regularly with her quilting buddies at their various homes. The coffee pot was always ready; and sandwiches with cookies were near by.
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