The Mountaineer - Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada
© 2024 The Mountaineer Publishing Company Limited.

John William Houlton
Feb. 4, 1945 – June 22, 2024

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of John William Houlton, of Caroline, Alta., on June 22, 2024, at the age of 79 years.
John was the first boy born to Bill and Hazel Houlton on Feb. 4, 1945, in Vulcan, Alta. He was the fourth of eight children. They moved to Caroline when he was in Grade 9, and that’s when he said his life really started. He loved this part of the country. They lived at the Bar XL Ranch, 12 miles west of Caroline. John, his sister Barb and the other friends spent many days riding and would ride into Phyllis Lake even before there was a road into it.

John spent his high school years in Caroline, where he was one of the first to play on the basketball and volleyball teams, as the school gym was put in when he was in Grade 10.

After John graduated, he worked at various jobs, from Ricinus Stock Farms to John Moberg’s saw mill, to working derrick on rigs throughout Alberta, northern B.C., Saskatchewan, and N.W.T. He even spent a winter in the Arctic east of Inuvik, where the temperatures were -70 degrees or colder.

The fall of 1963 was his first trip to the mountains working for Don and Bob McNutt. This is where his guiding career started, working mostly with Roy Trimble. In 1969, John started working for Stan Reynolds out of Dawson City, Yukon, until 1980. What started out as an employer/employee relationship with Stan, turned into a lifelong friendship not only with Stan but with his family as well. Also during this time, he became friends with another guide, Gerard Dugas, who became one of his best friends.

Through the ’70s, John called home wherever he hung his hat. During this time, he became interested in team roping. He used his horse Kaos, which he broke and trained himself. From then on rodeo and team roping took up a lot of his spare time.

In 1980, he rented a quarter section south of Caroline and started raising quarter horses. He worked a lot of F.C.A. rodeos and jackpots. He made it to the F.C.A. finals in 1986 in cow milking at Hanna, Alta. He had a team in the pack horse race in Caroline for a lot of years and won it four times. He also won all-around in the Caroline Rodeo six times. He joined the Ricinus-Wooler Community Association in 1978 and was an active member for 20 years. During that time he held positions of director and president from 1987 to 1997.

During John’s first marriage, he had two daughters, Laura and Twyla. Then, at the Caroline Rodeo in 1982, John asked a young cowgirl Darlene to hold his horses; they went on to win the pack horse race twice. In 1985, John married Darlene, and took over farming her dad’s farm in the Butte area, where together they raised her two sons, Brian and Brad (Mouse). They continued to work and build up their herd, raising commercial and registered Simmentals. It was a lot of hard work, but they were happy with the place that they had built up.

John is survived by his wife of forty years, Darlene Houlton; daughter Laura and her children: Jesse, Adam, and Erin; daughter Twyla and her daughter Lea; son Mouse (Kim) and their daughters Alexandra and Ava; sisters: Shannon (Pete), Sharan, Barb (Bill), Joyce and Kathy; and brother Gord (Val); as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

John is predeceased by father Bill, mother Hazel, son Brian and sister Carolyn.

Memorial donations can be made in John’s name to any local charity of the donor’s choice.

A memorial service will be held at the Caroline Community Hub on July 6, 2024, at 1 p.m.; with inurnment at Caroline cemetery and luncheon to follow at the Royal Canadian Legion, Caroline, Alta.

Condolences may be forwarded to www.rockyfuneralhome.ca.

Rocky and Sylvan Lake Funeral Homes and Crematorium, your Golden Rule Funeral Homes, entrusted with the arrangements.