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Cliff Houser, 74, of Gladwin

CLIFFORD RAYE HOUSER, 74, of Gladwin, Michigan, passed away on May 19, 2022. Cliff was born to Clifford and Elizabeth Houser on June 18, 1947, in Flint, Michigan. He attended Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church School, where he was confirmed in 1961. He later then attended Longfellow and Flint Northern High School.

Cliff’s early love of announcing and broadcasting began in high school, as he oversaw the school’s broadcasts. In 1964, he received an FCC license allowing him to operate transmitters and broadcasting equipment. In 1965, he joined WNEM TV FM as an announcer and produced a nightly jazz show, “Music in the Night.”

In 1968, Cliff entered the Army and, following basic training, was assigned to the John F. Kennedy Center for Special Warfare. In 1969, he was sent to Vietnam as a field correspondent for the Armed Forces Vietnam Network. For his bravery, courage, and service, Cliff was awarded the Bronze Star, the National Defense Service Medal, two Asian Theater Citations, and the Vietnam Commendation Medal, among others. For many years, his fellow correspondents came from all over the world to reunite with each other.

Cliff returned to WGER’s airwaves after Vietnam. In 1972, he began his 14-year journey as an account executive for the station. During this time, he was the voice of many large accounts, such as Wolohan Lumber, Shumaker Ski Shop, Oscar Rau’s Furniture, and dozens of other clients.

After 20 combined years with WNEM and WGER, Cliff founded Cliff Houser & Associates Advertising Corporation and built the business into a national ad agency. Under his leadership, the agency became one of three General Motors key ad agencies for Buick Motor Division. He also represented GMC truck dealers, 7-Eleven, and Little Caesars from offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and various locations throughout Michigan.

For more than five consecutive years, the company was named one of the top-50 fastest growing privately held companies in the state. After several decades, Cliff retired from his company, entrusting it to the team he assembled to run it. He sold the company to the employees who had been with him since its inception in 1986.

Beyond being the CEO of a successful business, Cliff tapped into his boundless energy and was heavily involved in civic activities and community leadership. He was the 1997 Bay County March of Dimes chairman, the tri-county chairman for Easter Seals, and a member of the Advising Board of the Bay City Board of Education and the Teen Ranch of Michigan.

Cliff also invested his time in the business community and was involved with the Michigan Small Business Leadership Panel, served on the board of directors of the Downtown Management Authority of Bay City, and was a charter member of the Flint Area Advertising Federation, among other organizations. Congress awarded him a lifetime achievement award in 2000. Cliff was also a member of Saginaw Bay Yacht Club and the American Legion.

In his later years, Cliff faced serious health challenges resulting from Agent Orange exposure during his time served in Vietnam; he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, before finally losing the battle to liver cancer.

His good times were spent hunting at his Highgrove Ranch and enjoying friends and boating on Secord Lake. Cliff founded a group of pals over a decade ago and was the “Commander” of the Secord Men’s Club, meeting weekly at the Eagles club. Cliff also operated his own brewery at the ranch. In 2016, he received a doctorate in divinity. Cliff’s Christian faith was the centerpiece of his life, maturing as he did, and to which he was devoted to the end.

Cliff is survived by his loving wife Jeanette, son Clifford James of Freeland; daughter Elizabeth Jean of Harper Woods; son Jordan Matthew (Sara) of Vassar; brother James (Marlene) of Montrose; nephew Jeffrey; nieces Sara (Nate) and Cacsie (Christopher); and one grandson, Christopher; along with many other loving family members.
Cliff was especially thankful to Dr. Kenneth Fromkin at Cleveland Clinic, as well as Dr. Wael Solh and Dr. Mani Menon for their service to him in the face of daunting diseases.

For those wishing to make a donation in Cliff’s remembrance, please consider a local American Legion Post or food bank.

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Arrangements have been entrusted to Lee-Ramsay Funeral Home-Gladwin Chapel.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Clifford , please visit our floral store.

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