Denice Lianne Hougen
Denice Lianne (Ambrose) Hougen, 59, died at home with her husband and cats by her side on January 29th, 2013 from complications of ALS (Lou Gerhig's Disease).
Born August 28, 1953 to Walter "Bud" and Charlene (Caul) Ambrose, she was a lifelong resident of Whatcom County, growing up outside Wickersham in the South Fork Valley. A 1971 graduate of Mt. Baker High School, where she also met her future husband Joe, she moved to Bellingham to complete bookkeeping training at Bellingham Technical School. The next eight years were spent working for local businesses while also attending Western Washington University (WWU) part time in pursuit of a biology degree.
In 1980 she moved to a position at WWU, partly to simplify mixing work and schooling, with a switch in major to business. Within the first year of employment she joined the staff of the Chemistry Dept and remained there until disability retirement at the end of 2011, the last 25 years as the department manager. She also finally managed to graduate, with honors, in 1985, followed by an MBA in 1988.
Denice often spoke of the enjoyment of being able to practice her vocation (business) in her area of avocation (science) and also the convenience of performing her volunteer work--usually in service of students--in the department. Although some didn't think she had a life away from Western, Denice enjoyed attending as many activities as possible of nieces and nephews and often had her nose stuck in a book. She also enjoyed going on garden outings with friends Swanny and Yvonne and traveling with
her husband, family and friends.
She is survived by her husband of 40 years, Joe Hougen, her mom Charlene Ambrose, brothers Darrell and Craige Ambrose, brother-in-law Jeff Hougen, sisters-in-law Lisa Jager (Dave) and Jodi Swanson (Steven Jager), nieces and nephews Jacob Ambrose (Amy Kingen), Adam Dalenius, Stephanie Ambrose (Bryant Gerfin), Sarah Dalenius (Isaac Ervin), Kevin Hougen, Alex Ambrose, Eric Ambrose (Kristine Tomlinson), Brian Hougen and Hailey Ambrose, grand nephews Riley Ambrose and Thaddeus Demetrio, aunt Joyce Ambrose, numerous Ambrose and Caul cousins, many friends, including the Anthony-Cahills, the entire Strand Clan and her WWU Chem Dept family. Also beloved cats, Leo and
Preceded in death by her dad Bud, uncle Lawrence Ambrose, aunt Virginia Caul Veerkamp, mother-in-law Anne Hougen, grandparents Bob and Florence Caul, Cliff and Bessie Ambrose Stewart.
Special thanks to Mary Rebar, ALS Org Evergreen Chapter, and to Whatcom Hospice staff.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, February 17th, beginning at 2 pm, at the Boathouse in Zuanich Park, Squalicum Harbor, followed by an optional potluck meal and music.
Memorials suggested to either the ALS Org Evergreen Chapter, or to Whatcom Hospice Foundation, or to the Western Foundation Chemistry Scholarship Fund.
The Denice (Ambrose) Hougen Chemistry endowment has been established at Western Washington University Foundation by Denice’s family. To make a contribution to this fund, which will provide scholarships or summer research fellowships to students in the Chemistry department; Make checks payable to WWU Foundation and note “Denice (Ambrose) Hougen Chemistry endowment” on the memo line and mail to:
516 High Street, OM 430
Bellingham, WA 98225-9034
Gifts may also be made online at: www.wwu.edu/give