A voice familiar to radio listeners in Central Kansas for over a half-century is being remembered.
79-year-old Gary Houser, announcer on Salina Media Group Radio Station AM 1560 KABI in Abilene, died early Wednesday morning in a single-vehicle crash.
According to Dickinson County Undersheriff James Swisher, Houser was driving his small pickup truck on Highway 40 headed east toward Abilene at around 4:30 Wednesday morning. For an unknown reason Houser drifted into the south ditch. The truck rolled numerous times. Houser, who was not buckled up, was partially ejected. Swisher says that an autopsy will be performed to determine if a medical condition may have been a factor in the crash.
Houser, a long-time morning announcer, was the first voice heard on KABI. When the radio station signed on in 1963, he was the first person on the air. Though his tenure was mainly on the air at KABI in Abilene, Houser also was heard during his career on KINA radio in Salina.
Houser was passionate about Abilene, and very active in the community. He was a volunteer at many community events, and spent countless hours dedicating his time to helping others in Abilene.
Salina Media Group General Manage Bob Protzman says “Gary’s name is synonymous with KABI and Abilene. He was such a wonderful person. He woke up Abilene for years. It will be very difficult to fill that void”.
Gary Houser Obituary:
Gary Houser, 79, passed away Wednesday, October 1st. He was born March 23, 1935 in Piqua, Ohio, the son of Emerson and Ruth (Wiltheiss) Houser.
Growing up in Piqua, Gary attended local schools and graduated from Piqua High School with the class of 1953. Gary served in the U.S. Army in Korea from 1954 to 1956. He moved to Abilene in 1957.
Gary had been employed by the Viola Shoe Store, RC Cola, was a truck driver for Sellers Truck Line, Ross Truck Line and Alco and was a radio announcer for KABI and KINA radio stations for many years.
On July 5, 1980 he married Peggy Schurle in Clay Center. He was a member of Elks Lodge, Eagles, American Legion, Isis Shrine, Masonic Lodge, Red Bud Lake and loved riding his motorcycle. Gary was preceded in death by his parents, an infant sister, Connie Houser and a brother, Richard Houser.
Wife Peggy Houser Abilene, Kansas
Bill Houser Abilene, Kansas
Chip Houser Edgerton, Kansas
Jamie Houser Dallas, Texas
Sister Cindy Klein Salina, Kansas
Grandchildren and Great-grandchildren
The family has chosen cremation.
A memorial graveside service will be held 11:00 AM Saturday, October 4th, at the Abilene cemetery with Rev. Stan Norman officiating. A celebration of life will follow at the Elks Lodge.
In lieu of flowers the family requests contributions be made to the Dickinson County Hospice. They may be left at the Elks Lodge the day of the celebration or left at or sent in care of the Danner Funeral Home POB 758 Abilene, Kansas 67410.