Charlotte M. Houle


GWINN, MI – Charlotte Mae Houle, age 72, of Gwinn, and former AuTrain resident, walked on into eternal life Wednesday, March 15, 2017, at her home, in the loving care of her family and caregivers of Lake Superior Hospice.

Born March 6, 1945, in AuTrain, a daughter of Benjamin and Martha (VanLinden) Reffruschinni, Char spent her early years in AuTrain. Her mother died when Char was 5, and her grandmother Cameron raised her, teaching her many of the American Indian traditions and implanting in her an appreciation of her American Indian heritage.

Char moved to Marquette when she was 12. As a young woman, she was employed for a time as an aide at the former Morgan Heights and later waitressed at various area restaurants. On June 26, 1965, Char married Albert T. “Sonny” Houle at St. Peter Cathedral. They made their home in Marquette where they raised their two children. While in her 30’s, Char, along with Sonny, returned to the classroom and together completed requirements for their high school diplomas through the Adult Education Program and Marquette Senior High School. Char had a loving, caring, and compassionate personality and was employed for several years as a care aide at Brookridge Heights Assisted Living.

She thoroughly enjoyed her job, the people she worked with, and the residents. She was a dedicated employee and was always willing to put others first. She retired at age 62 due to health issues. Around 1990, Char and Sonny had returned to AuTrain to live. There she enjoyed the beach, having AuTrain Lake in her front yard and the AuTrain River in the back yard. Three years ago, they moved to the Gwinn/Sawyer location. She loved the outdoors, running on the sands at Lake Superior, doing handcrafts, and canoeing. She was a member of the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians and was always appreciative of her heritage.

Her great aunt, Julia Cameron, taught her much about the native ways, traditions, family history, and that her great great-grandfather had been a guide for Bishop Baraga. Pow wows and opportunities for beading with family and friends were always welcome pursuits.

Char is survived by her husband of 51, years, Albert T. “Sonny” Houle; her children, Lisa (Richard) Weaver of Gwinn and Albert Joseph (Jody Gibson) Houle, Jr of Trenary; her grandchildren, Richard Ferree, Nicholas Weaver, Matthew Weaver, Jessica (Nate) Peterson, Ally Houle, and Tori (Jose) Ochoa; great-grandchildren, Isaac Ferree, Archer Weaver, and Gia Peterson; her sister, Anna (the late David) DePetro of Marquette; sisters-in-law, Starr of Lower Michigan and Barbara Gutzman of Marquette; numerous nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents, Char was preceded in death by sisters, Mary (the late Zane) Kroupa, Linda Hanson, and Katie Jane Reffruschinni; and brothers Ben Reffruschinni, Jr and Joseph Reffruschinni.

The family would like to express their appreciation to those who so devotedly cared for Char throughout the years, especially Dr. Napier, Dr. Jaecklein, the nurses at Fresenius Dialysis Center, and Jim Nivelle the MarqTran bus driver who made sure Char got to her appointments. Your many kindnesses will always be remembered. Miigwech.

The family will receive relatives and friends at St. Therese Catholic Church in AuTrain on Tuesday, March 21, beginning at 2:00 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 3:00 pm Tuesday afternoon with Rev. Greg Heikkala as celebrant. A reception will follow in the church fellowship hall. Spring burial will be made in the Serenity Pines Cemetery, AuTrain.

Memorials may be directed to the family.

The Fassbender Funeral Home is serving the family where condolences may be expressed online at www.fassbenderfuneral