Barbara Bray Houghton


image of Barbara Bray Houghton

Barbara Bray Houghton

Barbara Bray Houghton was a loving mother and grandmother who passed away on June 25, 2024. She had lived with Alzheimer’s disease for six years before dying at the age of 91 in Seattle, Washington. Barbara is survived by her daughter, Diana Houghton Henneuse, son-in-law, Kent Henneuse, and granddaughter, Kathleen Nina Henneuse.

Born on July 25, 1932, in Oakland, California, to George and Helen Bray, Barbara was raised in Berkeley and Piedmont, Calif. She graduated from Berkeley High School in 1950 and from UCLA in 1954 with a BA in Interior Design and Art History. She was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and proudly participated on the UCLA Rally Committee at football games, where students would execute imaginative card stunts. She cheered for the UCLA Bruins the rest of her life.

After graduation, Barbara worked as a color consultant and interior designer in Los Angeles before moving to New York City. She worked as an executive secretary for U.S. Steel Corporation in Manhattan and lived in Greenwich Village. She met her husband, Charles Houghton, and they married in 1959 and moved to Philadelphia, where their daughter, Diana, was born.

Following a divorce in 1969, Barbara moved with her daughter to Boca Raton, Florida, where she worked for Arvida Corporation as an executive secretary. In 1975, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where she worked for Marsh McLennan as an executive secretary. She eventually pursued her passion for real estate, and she became a residential realtor for Coldwell Banker and then Harry Norman Realtors. She left Atlanta in 1994 and moved to Chicago to be near her daughter, where she worked for Continental Bank and before becoming a paralegal in her 60s.

In her late 60s, Barbara returned to her beloved home state of California with her daughter. She lived in Belmont and San Jose, and was happy in the beautiful Bay Area, where she loved to go on long drives by the coast. Some of her favorite destinations included San Francisco, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite. Her fondest memories were from spending time at her family’s cabin at Tahoe during her youth. She learned how to snow ski at Tahoe, and spent summers there during high school and college.

In her 70s, she moved to Washington state to be near her daughter’s family. She lived in Sequim and Bellevue, before moving into an assisted living facility in Kirkland. Her final years were spent at the Kline Galland Home in Seattle, where she received extraordinary care from a dedicated and loving nursing team.

Barbara was always committed to learning, discovery and research throughout her life. She was curious and wasn’t afraid to try and learn new things. She enjoyed traveling, visiting art museums and historical places, and road trips. She loved spending time with her family and watching her granddaughter grow up. She was grateful to be part of many special family celebrations. She lived in nine states across America during her lifetime.

She had a keen interest in history and genealogy. When she retired, she conducted research to learn about all sides of her family who came to America in the 1800s from the Netherlands, England and Ireland. Her ancestors settled in Nova Scotia, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Utah and eventually California. She loved to read the daily newspaper, books and magazines. She was a dedicated alumna in Kappa Kappa Gamma and was recognized with a 50-year membership pin.

In lieu of flowers, please make any donations in Barbara’s memory to Kline Galland ( or Kappa Kappa Gamma ( Barbara will be laid to rest at the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California.

6 Responses to “Barbara Bray Houghton”

  • Mary McArthur says:

    My sincere condolences and prayers for Diana, Kent, and Kathleen during this difficult time. May she rest in peace.

  • Jeanie Bowman Hill says:

    What a beautiful life and loving tribute. Your lovely mother was so adventurous – and she was remarkable in continually embracing new adventures across her life. I can only imagine how much you’ll miss her!
    We are praying for you, dear Diana – and for Kent and Kathleen as well as you all grieve. Sending love.

  • Teresa Hayles Kelley says:

    What a loving tribute to your mom. Sounds like she had an amazing and adventurous life. I know you will miss her. There is nothing like a Mother’s love. So sorry for your loss.

  • Merritt wormley says:

    Never a more eloquent obituary I have read. What a wonderful life filled with exploring our beautiful country and sharing time with family. Barbra was so kind and considerate to me growing up and I loved spending time with Diana in their home. May she rest peacefully and may her memories keep her loved ones hearts warm.

  • Shannon Seigle says:

    Diana..such a beautiful, loving tribute to your mother..
    We are so sorry to hear about her passing..but know she is with the angels and you will always carry her close to your heart…with love and condolences to you, Kent and Kathleen..Shannon and Jake

  • Dorothy Sloan says:

    Diana, what a kind and loving tribute to your mom; beyond being your mother, she was definitely a force of nature and a strong individual! I am thankful to have met her years ago. Sending all my love to you, Kent and Kathleen.

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