Obituaries: Lois Jackson and Walter Houc

The juggling community has lost quite a few members in the past year or two. We would like to take this opportunity to honor one who has recently passed and one who passed last year.

LOIS JACKSON (1929 – 2014)

 Jacksons9 (1024x858)

Lois Jackson was born April 11, 1929 in Morgantown, WV (USA) to Lessie and Paul Trevillian. She grew up in Morgantown and attended West Virginia University. While there, she met her future husband, Bob Jackson, a juggler and popular basketball player. They married in 1950 and moved to Pittsburgh, PA, where they began performing – Lois as an acrobat and tap dancer, and Bob as a juggler. When Lois became pregnant with their first child, the couple moved to Cleveland, Ohio. It was during this pregnancy that Lois learned to juggle and pass clubs. Lois soon joined the juggling act and “The Juggling Jacksons” was born. Lois was able to use her left handedness to accomplish some difficult passing tricks that other jugglers couldn’t. Through moves to San Diego, CA, Crown Point, IN, and Maryville, TN, as well as the birth of four more children, the Jacksons continued to improve and perform regularly. Eventually the kids joined the act and the family would provide not just an act, but an entire show for audiences. Lois and Bob lived in Maryville, TN from 1966 until the ends of their lives. They were active in the IJA, with Bob being elected as its president in 1957. The family act broke apart in the 1970s as the kids reached adulthood and went out on their own. Lois and Bob continued to perform into the 1980s and enjoyed attending IJA Conventions, where they would astound younger generations with their incredibly quick club passing. Bob passed away in 1990. Lois passed away on November 21, 2014 after an extended illness.
Lois leaves behind five children: Robert Lee and his wife Betty with their children Dan, Ada (spouse Tom Zdanowicz), Diana (Jeff Bowen), Emilee, and Angelina; Joy and husband Jim Melchionda; Joni (whose late husband was Jack Katon) and daughter Jamie (Barry Habel); Jay and his wife Hallie with their daughter Cynthia (Sean Baxter); and Jeff. Six great-grandchildren include Marley, Hallie Jane, Lillee, Grace, Celeste, and Madisynn.
Below are some pictures of Lois, Bob, and their children doing what they loved to do: juggling and performing.
Jacksons8 (853x1024) Jacksons7
Jacksons1 Jacksons2
Jacksons6   Jacksons4
Jacksons5 Jacksons3
WALTER HOUC (1911 – 2013)
We at eJuggle missed the opportunity to publish an obituary for Walter Houc when he passed away last year. Instead of writing an original obituary here, I’d recommend that you read the wonderful Circopedia entry for him, written by his great friend Dick Franco and edited by Dominique Jando. You can read it here. Circopedia also provides a video of the Houcs’ club passing act from 1967, which can be viewed here. As you can see in the picture above, Walter performed a version of the Salerno ring trick. Below is a video, put online for this article, showing Walter performing this feat, as well as hoop and club passing with his wife, Ingrid. It was filmed in Youngstown, OH in 1979 and is from the collection of David Cain. Note the very early example of one count passing in the hoop passing section.

David Cain is a professional juggler, juggling historian, and the owner of the world's only juggling museum, the Museum of Juggling History. He is a Guinness world record holder and 15 time IJA gold medalist. In addition to his juggling pursuits, David is a successful composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and singer as well as the author of twenty-six books. He and his children live in Middletown, OH (USA).

Leave a Reply