Cornelius ‘Neil’ Bailey Houk

June 20, 1933 - Sept. 2, 2007

Cornelius "Neil" Bailey Houk, 74, died Sunday, Sept. 2, 2007, at his home. He was born June 20, 1933, to the late Emory and Jeanne Houk in Hillsdale, Mich.

He grew up in Grand Rapids, Mich., and was a resident of Durham, N.C., since 1988. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church of Durham. After attending the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, he graduated with a bachelor of science in chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1955. He attended the San Francisco Theological Seminary, where he earned a master’s in divinity and a doctorate in theology.

He taught at Pikeville College (Kentucky) and Beirut College for Women (Beirut, Lebanon) where he also served as acting president. Neil was associate pastor at Southfield Presbyterian Church (Michigan) and served on the Interfaith Action Council and the Southfield Human Relations Council. He was dean of the chapel and assistant professor of religion at Carroll College in Waukesha, and served on the board of the Waukesha Mental Health Association. He established and edited CHURCH BYTES, the official newsletter for Church Computer Users Network. Neil was a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and published numerous articles on the Old Testament. He was a meeting facilitator for the Prostate Cancer Support Group at the University of North Carolina. Neil also served on the National Council of Americans for Middle East Understanding.

Neil is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, Alice Joyce Houk (nee Wetzel); three children, Diane (Fred Freiberg) Houk of New York, Kenneth Houk of Millbrae, Calif., and Peter (Mandy) Houk of Colorado Springs, Colo.; three grandchildren, Stefan (Elana Benatar) Freiberg, Emma Houk and Bethany Houk; a sister and brother-in-law, Rhea and Alvo Polson of Saginaw, Mich.; a brother and sister-in-law, David and Julie Houk of Battle Creek, Mich.; a sister-in-law, Margaret Houk (late brother Peter) of Appleton; and extended family. This much beloved theological scholar, poet, scientist and humanitarian also leaves behind many friends and colleagues who will miss his gentle wit, compassion, wisdom and grace.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, at First Presbyterian Church, 305 E. Main St., Durham.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Housing for New Hope, P.O. Box 11867, Durham, NC 27703.

Arrangements are by the Cremation Society of the Carolinas, (800) 993-5333. Online condolences can be made at www.cremnc.com.