Father Paul Houde did not die while serving in the military, but I want to take the opportunity to remember a relative that served in the US Armed Forces and certainly was there amongst men who died. Father Paul Houde was born in 1911 in Nashua, NH to Joseph and Clara (nee Deschamps) Houde. Father Houde graduated from St. Anselm’s College in Manchester, NH in 1934 and was ordained in 1938. Living a peaceful life on the small Catholic campus teaching classes and working with young adults in a collegiate setting, Father Houde joined the Army Chaplain Corps in 1942, first serving as chaplain on the Peterson air base in Colorado. From 1943 until 1945, Father Houde served in the Pacific with the 42nd Bomb Group of the 13th Air Force, nicknamed The Crusaders. When he returned to the states in December of 1945, he returned to St. Anselm’s where he remained for the rest of his active life.
Many of us, myself included, think of one type of soldier when we envision the military. However, soldiers come in many shapes and forms and serve different important roles. The role of Chaplain can not be overlooked. Ministering to the sick and dying during a time of war is an unenviable position and I can only imagine what the experience was like for Father Houde and countless others like him.
On this Memorial Day I will be thinking of him along with the rest of the soldiers that served in our Armed Forces throughout the world and throughout our history.
FYI: Father Houde is my 1st cousin 2x removed. He was first cousins with my grandfather William D. Fields. Joseph and Clara Houde had 10 children, Ernest, Lelian, Irene, Florence, Antoinette, Alida, Raymond, Armand, Edgard, and Paul. Five of the 10 children were ordained in the Catholic Church. I know of Sister Alida Houde and Father Paul Houde, but I’m not sure which of the other children were in the ministry.