Mary K. Houston age 87, longtime resident of Chicago Heights, Illinois transitioned to eternal
life on January 9, 2024 at home in the compassionate care of Vitas hospice. Beloved wife of
almost 69 years to Larry Houston; loving mother to Kathleen (Michael) O’Sullivan, the late
Michelle (Michael) Harris, Pamela (Moses) Cabrera and Elizabeth (Jorge Ibarra) Houston.
Cherished Grandmother to 7 beautiful grandchildren and cherished Great Grandmother to 7
beautiful great grandchildren. Fond sister to Jim (Mary) Ojendyk and to Janice (Duane)
Mentele. She is also preceded in death by her parents, Emil and Marie Ojendyk, siblings Lt.
Col. Ret. Robert (Chris) Ojendyk, Patricia (Edward) Mahoney, and Richard Ojendyk, daughter
Michelle Harris, and grandson Bradley Harris.
Mary was born in Des Moines, Iowa, where she graduated from St. Joseph’s Academy. She
married her high school sweetheart Larry at age 18, and they welcomed their first child, Kathi,
later that year, followed less than 2 years later by their second daughter, Michelle. Pam
followed 8 years after Michelle, and then Beth 13 years after Pam. Mary and Larry spent the
first 10 years of their married life in the Des Moines area and then in 1965, they moved to the
south suburbs of Chicago. After moving back to Des Moines for 2 years in the late 70’s, they
finally settled permanently in Chicago Heights. They worked hard to be able to afford 12 years
of Catholic school for each of their girls. Mary was a devout Catholic all her life and was
involved in several parishes over the years.
Mary was a loving homemaker for all of her adult life. She did have a few jobs over the years,
including at 2 insurance companies in Iowa, and at the Karmelkorn Shoppe and a therapist’s
office in Illinois. Her children span 23 years, so for most of her married life she had at least
one daughter at home. She was a devoted mother to all her girls and a doting grandmother.
Mary was an avid bowler for many years in the Powder Puff league in Chicago Heights. She
always enjoyed visits to the casino, with the penny slot machines being her favorite. She
enjoyed having friends over to play the card game Tripoley. She and Larry took many trips to
Las Vegas, often with friends. After retirement, they even became snowbirds for a few years
and spent their winters in Las Vegas. Mary was known for her impeccably clean home and
hosted many family gatherings over the years, which usually included her famous bourbon
slush drink. She was also a fabulous cook, making a full meal from scratch most nights and
she was well known for her amazing fudge.
Although she will be greatly missed, her family is thankful to have had so many years with her
and in knowing that she is now reunited with so many loved ones who went on before her.
A memorial mass will be held on Friday, May 3, 2024 at 5pm
Our Lady of the Heights/St. Kieran Catholic Church
724 195 th St., Chicago Heights, IL 60411
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to:
Vitas Hospice, 8525 W. 183 rd St., Suite M,Tinley Park, IL 60487
Arrangements entrusted to Kerr-Parzygnot Funeral Home 540 Dixie Hwy. (at Joe Orr Rd.), Chicago Heights, IL 60411. (708) 754-0016.