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Bob Lind, Published April 21 2012

Lind: The glory of Goldie

You could count on one thing when you visited Goldie Houkom: You’d go home with a loaf of her bread, which a fan of hers calls “wonderful.”

But it wasn’t just her bread that made her so appealing. She had a positive attitude despite life’s challenges, faith in God and a smile that lit up Edgewood Vista assisted living, Fargo, her last home before she died in October 2011 at 102.

Goldie (that’s her given name) was born in 1908 at Griswold, Iowa, moved with her family to North Dakota when she was 9, attended rural schools near Prosper and graduated from Fargo Central High School in 1927.

She married Carl Houkom in 1928. They operated a dairy and a vegetable farm at West Fargo until 1969, when Carl retired. He died in 1978. She, with her seven children grown, lived in that farm house by herself for many years.

Well, it had been a farm house. But West Fargo expanded, putting the house inside the city limits.

That location is where she, her husband and their kids had a large irrigated vegetable garden during the “Dirty ’30s.”

“I’ll always remember those hot, dusty winds constantly blowing, first one way, then the other way, the air full of grit,” she said in a Forum story in 2008.

The Houkoms sold their vegetables three times a week at a market near what is now Island Park, Fargo. Whatever was left over was sold to truck drivers hauling cattle to the West Fargo stockyards.

Yes, times were tough.

“But you have to be satisfied and content to be happy in this world,” she once said.

Goldie always preferred a simple lifestyle. She never had a TV or a computer. She had a radio, but didn’t listen to it much. She had too much to do: drawing, painting, gardening, making bread.

And quilting.

Her friend Susan Henderson, Fargo, says Goldie once had a large embroidered quilt hanging on her wall. It included a bird and flower from every state. It was so well done it hung in the Capitol building in Bismarck for a time.

Susan says Goldie, while appearing to live alone, didn’t really. “She said she didn’t feel alone because God was with her,” Susan says.

And she stayed busy. Even when she was 99, Goldie was baking 12 loaves of “wonderful” whole wheat bread at a time, Susan says; if you visited her, you’d very likely be given one of those loaves.

Goldie eventually had to move into assisted living, so she sold her land to the Hornbacher’s store in the Osgood area of Fargo.

“She was so content and peaceful,” Susan says. “I want to be more like her.”

Goldie left 25 grandchildren, 61 great-grandchildren and 20 great-great-grandchildren.

Plus a host of memories of a woman who was quietly peaceful in a world that was anything but.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com