One of Houston’s finest couples, who have made quite an impact on the community over the years, moved away bringing together several community members for a grand farewell.
Pete and Betty Lieuwen, who have lived in Houston since 1948 and 1945 respectively, moved out of the community last week to Abbotsford to live in an assisted living facility. The news of their departure however brought several from the community together for a farewell organized by Ena Groot.
Pete, who moved from Holland to Houston, is one of the founders of the Houston Christian School and had served for many years on the school board, has several well-wishers in the community who wanted to see him and Betty off. Several people drove by and honked, many stopped by, socially distanced, wearing masks, and the children and the staff of the Houston Christian School also came by.
The students all gathered on the grass outside Pete and Betty’s house and sang them a couple of songs to thank them for their years of service.
”They have been in Houston for so long, been in that house since 1964. They are long-time Houston residents. So people coming and seeing them off, they were overwhelmed. People came, said goodbye, lots of people came by and honked and it was just amazing to have that,” said Doug Lieuwen, their son.
Doug also said that while his parents would’ve really liked to stay in their own house for a little longer, they knew it was time for them to leave.
Pete and Betty were always active in the Houston Christian Reformed Church and the Houston Christian Church. For many years, Pete had his own store called Marshall-Wells Hardware which later moved into the new mall. Betty’s father opened the first ever general store in Houston and both Pete and Betty worked at the store for years. Betty also worked in the school library and the church library.
After the hardware store, Pete worked at the Houston Co-Op for many years till it closed. After that he worked at the Co-Op gas bar for several years, said Doug. This, he says is one of the major reasons how his dad knew so much of the community.
“They were pretty sad to leave and there definitely were some tears shed for sure,” he said.
However, so many people coming to bid adieu showed him the kind of impact the couple had on the community.
“Houston has changed a bit but there was a time when my dad knew almost everyone in the community. If he didn’t know the name, he knew the face of everyone at one time,” he said.
“They are touched by all the love from the community; they love Houston and they are sad to leave but they know it’s time and they wish all the best to the people of Houston.”
This summer the two hope to celebrate turning 92 and their 69th wedding anniversary.