Byard Houck, Jr.
Byard Houck, Jr., of Rocky Mount died on Sept. 4, 2012.
Byard was born June 15, 1933 in Todd in Ashe County and was raised in West Jefferson. After his freshman year at North Carolina State University (NCSU) he left college to enter the Army during the Korean War. Byard returned to NCSU in 1955 and graduated in May 1958 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering. In 1965 he enrolled in Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and graduated in the summer of 1968 with a Masters of Divinity Degree. While beginning his career in the engineering school at NCSU in 1968; he also pastored churches in Wake Forest and Spring Hope. In 1973 he was elected chairman of the Computer Graphics committee of the American Society for Engineering Education. In 1974 he coauthored a college textbook, Introduction to Fortran IV, that was translated into eight languages and became the engineering standard for more than 10 years. In 1977, Byard was appointed to be the NCSU leader for the Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering (SECME). In 1980-1988 he held the position of Director of NCSU Special Programs, while continuing to instruct 300 level courses in computer graphics. In 1980 he co-founded the NC Council for Minorities in mathematics, science, and engineering. In 1986 the council established the annual Byard Houck, Jr., scholarship for the minority student with the best academic record. From 1988 to 1993, Byard was loaned by NCSU to work in the N.C. Governor’s Office, as associate director of the NC Science and Mathematics Alliance Project.
In 1991, in recognition of his many contributions to the state of NC mathematics and science education, Byard was awarded the State of North Carolina Science Star Award. In 1993, Byard returned to work with the NCSU School of Engineering as an engineering extension specialist. For the next nine years he served as the NASA Technology Transfer Specialist, for the state of North Carolina, and as a Computer Aided Manufacturing specialist. After 34 years of service at NCSU, Byard retired in February 2002.
Byard was predeceased by his parents, Byard and Mattie Houck of West Jefferson. He was also predeceased by his stepson, Donnie G. Park.
Surviving are his wife, Judy H. Park; children, Tim Houck (Tammie) of Benson, Teri Houck (Scott) of Leland, Melissa H. Watkins (Donald) of Garner, SFC Russell Houck (Jennifer) of Burke Va., Dr. Christopher Park (Cindi) of Clifton Va.; 12 grandchildren, Byard, Jason, James, Jennifer, Joseph, Alycia, Beren, Jessica, Cassie, Ellie, Kirsten, Dylan; and several great grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Cinda Calhoun, her husband, John, and their family of Wilmington Del.; and two special friends, Michael and Jennifer Brown of Dortches.
Judy and the family would like to give heartfelt thanks to Dr. Mark Abel, and his special staff for the medical care given to Byard with love and kindness through many years, also his caregivers at Breckenridge Assisted living, Nash General Hospital Hospice staff; especially nurse Nancy Brinkley and CNA Malinda Lynch. A very special thank you to Thomas R. White, a volunteer with hospice who has become a lifelong friend; Cheryl Connoly for her continued help, support and friendship; and Elaine Christianson, who has been at Judy’s side since the onset of Byard’s Parkinson’s disease, her faithfulness and loyalty will always be cherished.
Services for Byard will be held at Wheeler and Woodlief Funeral Home, with the Rev. Kathy Jo Mitchel officiating, on Friday Sept. 7. Visitation will be at 1:30 p.m., with the funeral service at 3 p.m., and burial following at Rocky Mount Memorial Park.