Paul J. Houlihan, 81, a veteran of more than 50 years in the funeral business, devoted guitar player and avid gardener, passed away Sept. 14, 2015 peacefully at his home in Gainesville of natural causes.
Paul spent 50 years in the funeral business in Hollywood, Florida, working as the Funeral Director in Charge at Johnson Foster Funeral Home from 1961 to 1990. He then joined Fred Hunter as a Managing Funeral Director for fifteen years and finished his career with Boyd Panciera. He took pride in being able to comfort people at a time of great personal loss. He was a member of both the National Funeral Directors Association and the Broward County FDA.
Born in Bronxville, NY, Paul lived throughout the Northeast and graduated from the Vermont State School of Agriculture and later from the Cincinnati College of Embalming. He also served two years in the United States Army from 1954 to 1956. He became a Specialist and was stationed in Baumholder, Germany. After leaving the military, he began his career in the funeral business in 1956 as an apprentice with Northwood Funeral Home in West Palm Beach.
After going to school in Cincinnati, Paul returned to South Florida and was active in numerous civic groups. He served as President of the Hollywood Beach Kiwanis Club, an officer in the Elks Club and a member of the Committee of 100 in Hollywood. He also was a Mason, a member of the Mahi Shrine Club in Miami, the Ives Dairy Optimist Club, Moose and American Legion organizations and was active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Paul was a devoted musician, most recently playing every week at both the Yearling in Cross Creek and at Cymplify in Gainesville. He was particularly fond of his pedal steel guitar and lap steel guitar as he played the country music he loved most. For many years he played music to raise money for various youth programs.
Paul is survived and will be greatly missed by his wife Jo Lee Winterrowd-Houlihan and his four children, son Paul Houlihan III (Theresa Dolvin) daughter Alana Cole (Jason) daughter Sharon Houlihan, and daughter Colleen Brooks (Steven). He also is survived by five grandchildren, Travis Houlihan (Alissa Prosser) Katie Houlihan, Kaitlin McNamara, Shawn Houlihan and Troy Houlihan, as well as three great-grandchildren, Madison, Kiley and Harper Houlihan.
A gathering of family and friends will be held Friday, September 18 from 3:00- 4:00 PM with services beginning at 4:00 PM at Forest Meadow Funeral Home, 725 NW 23rd Avenue, Gainesville.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, October 24, 2015 from 3:00 – 4:00 PM with services beginning at 4:00 PM at Boyd Panciera Funeral Home, 6400 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, Fl. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to your favorite charity.