Sister Shirley Houff, IHM, 86, died Tuesday, Dec. 28, at her home, the IHM Sisters’ Motherhouse.
Shirley Anne Houff was born July 18, 1935 to Martin and Vivienne (LaFleur) Houff of Lorain, Ohio. Her father was a salesman of a wholesale grocery and her mother cared for Shirley, her sister Vivienne, and the family home. Shirley attended St. Anthony grade school and graduated from St. Mary High School in 1953. That summer, she entered the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Monroe) and received the religious name Sister Angela Mary.
With a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marygrove College and Master’s Degree in Education from Wayne State University, Detroit, her early teaching ministry found her assigned to St. Martin, Detroit; St. Regis, Birmingham; St. John, Monroe and Benton Harbor. Moving into secondary education, mathematics emerged as her specialty at St. Mary in Wayne, then to her hometown at Lorain Catholic High School from 1969 through 1983. She also served as Mathematics Department Chair and Bookstore manager; always very engaged with the students. Sister Shirley’s style was all her own, with a sense of humor that helped an easy nature with students. Sister Shirley was missioned to Xavier High School, Phoenix, Ariz. where she enjoyed living and ministering as teacher and guidance counselor for just over 20 years! While in Arizona, she also served her religious community as a mission unit representative for IHM Sisters living out west.
After a year of retirement and transition, Sister Shirley returned to the Monroe. Not one to be idle, she soon took on coordinating transportation services for sisters in residence at the newly renovated IHM Motherhouse. After six years, she lent her talents to the IHM Archives Office and book sales. She greatly enjoyed these ministries and the camaraderie of her fellow sisters and many staff persons. In recent years, Sister Shirley endured the elements of aging and health issues with a strong spirit and still offered a smile, a joke or a kind word.
Sister Shirley is survived by her nephews Paul, Chris, and Shawn Ladd and families; and her sisters in the community. She was preceded in death by her sister Vivienne Ladd of Put-in-Bay, Ohio.
Read Sister Shirley’s Remembering here.