City Councilman Roby Jetton posted on Facebook Thursday: "Lincolnton and Lincoln County lost a model citizen last night. I cannot think of anyone who gave as much to this City and County as Fred Houser. Fred always looked out for the citizens and their welfare. I would advise that if a young man or woman starting out in life wanted to know the best way to give back to their City and County, check out the life of Fred Houser."
Wayne Howard Staff Writer
Were these normal times, there would no doubt be a huge crowd Sunday to say goodbye to a man who helped to shape Lincolnton and Lincoln County through his various areas of service for many years. Fred Houser, who served as County Manager for over 30 years, as a County Commissioner in the early 1990s, and as a Lincolnton City Councilman for over a decade, passed away Wednesday (March 18th) at age 92.
When he became County Manager, the minimum wage was $1 per hour and a man making $100 in a week could support a family. The County budget in those days was only a small fraction of what it is today--but the tools available for keeping up with it were also quite less significant.
Larry Houser, Fred's surviving son, says he remembers his dad having legal pads spread all over the den floor of their home--each one with information about a particular County department--as he worked to put together a budget proposal.
He was good with money. Over the years, he no doubt saved Lincoln County taxpayers millions of dollars. In addition to serving for over three decades as County Manager, he was treasurer of Bethpage Lutheran Church for 40 years.
Fred's history with the church goes back to his early childhood. Born in December 1927, he was the first infant baptized in the church's new sanctuary.
Fred served his country in the US Army during the Korean War. He then served the County as County Manager from 1955-1986, as a County Commissioner briefly in the early '90s, and was a Lincolnton City Councilman from 1997-2010. He was also active on many other boards including the Lincoln County Hospital Board of Trustees from 1969-1986 and the Airport Authority from 2012-2017.
Fred's greatest pleasure in life was spending time with his family. He and wife Betty loved working in their garden.
Fred was the embodiment of what it means to be 'a Southern gentleman.'
In order to allow for the currently necessary 'social distancing,' Fred's body will lie in state from 2 to 2:45 Sunday afternoon (March 22nd) in the Fellowship Hall at Bethpage. A graveside service will then be held at 3 PM.
Have you signed up for our FREE email service yet? If not, take a few minutes to do it now; and we'll send you an email every day with links to our articles posted since the previous day's email. That way, you won't miss the latest news for Lincoln, Catawba, Gaston and Cleveland counties.
Also like our Facebook page at LincolnHerald.net and click on SEE FIRST so you're sure to get the briefs we post there. You'll also find us on Twitter @LincolnHerald20.