Ernie Houdashell

Ernie Houdashell
Ernie Houdashell

Ernie Houdashell, 74, of Amarillo, Texas died November 22, 2020.

Services will be at 2:00 P.M., Saturday, November 28, 2020, at Hillside Christian Church. Burial will be at Llano Cemetery. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.

Ernie was born in Clarendon, Texas on November 21, 1946, to Ernest and Della Houdashell. He grew up in Hedley, where he graduated from Hedley High School and enlisted in the Army; completing two tours to Vietnam. After his return from Vietnam, he attended Amarillo College where he studied Journalism and continued his studies at West Texas State University where he received his Business degree. For the last 18 years, he has served as Randall County Judge.

Ernie enlisted in the United States Army in March of 1966. After basic training, he attended helicopter maintenance school and shipped out to Vietnam for his first tour of duty in November 1966. HE served as a UH-1 Huey mechanic, crew chief, and door gunner while assigned to the 191st Assault Helicopter Company in Dong Tam in support of the 9th Infantry Division during his two tours. He was awarded the Air Medal in September of 1968 for flying over 25 missions into hostile territory within a six-day period. He then received an honorable discharge from the Army in February of 1969.

After leaving the service, Ernie returned to the Amarillo area and went to work for Bell Helicopter from 1969 to 1973; working on the same aircraft he served in while overseas. Since that time, he has achieved his Commercial, Multi-engine, and instrument ratings, held an instructor rating for over 44 years, and was currently rebuilding his own antique aircraft.

On September 19, 1970, Ernie married the love of his life that God created only for him. This past September they celebrated 50 years of marriage.

Ernie returned to public service in 1973 when he took a job at KGNC Radio as an agricultural reporter. He later served as the Farm Directors, traveling the nation covering agricultural events. Additionally, he produced the American Cotton Network for three years; a weekly report that aired in four states to include Texas.

In January of 1985, Ernie transitioned to politics and served as the District Directors for the 13th District Congressman, Beau Bolter; a district responsible for 38 counties. He managed the Amarillo and Wichita Falls offices; specifically handling agricultural and military issues. He then served as District Director to State Representative, John Smithee, until 2002 when he was elected to the Randall County Judge seat.

Judge Houdashell is a key contributor to the development of the Texas Panhandle War Memorial and has served as a board member for the Texas State Center and the state board for Multiple Sclerosis. An honorable American, public servant, and decorated Veteran.

Survivors include his wife, Sandy; two sons, Scott and Clay, of Amarillo, TX; one daughter, Michele, of Amarillo, TX; six grandchildren, Jordyn, Beck, Alexander, Indeh, Elizabeth, and Bridger; one sister, Loveta Anderson, of Amarillo, TX; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father; mother; sister, Pat Hargrove; niece, Gay McGuire; and mother-in-law, Irene Gerber.

Memorial donations can be made to the Texas Panhandle War Memorial, 4111 S. Georgia, Amarillo, Texas 79110.

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37 Replies to “Ernie Houdashell”

  1. Sandy and family: Sorry I have taken so long in sending my condolences. My spouse passed 2 days before Ernie so I feel you loss and the void in your heart and life and am truly sorry. You are in my prayers for strength and comfort.

  2. Ernie was one of those individuals that never met a stranger would do whatever needed doing this world is a sadder place without him love and prayers to Sandy Clay Scott Michelle

  3. Ernie was such a great supporter of the Randall County Master Gardeners, and was always there to help us when we were working on some of our projects. Of course, his favorite was the Texas Panhandle War Memorial garden that we maintain. I enjoyed visiting with him at special occasions throughout the year. He will be missed by the whole community.
    Roger Gloe
    Randall County Master Gardeners

  4. Our class get-togethers will never be the same. So many memories have come to mind this week. You will forever be missed and the times spent with the class of “65 are treasured. You made the absolute most of your days on earth! So well done, my friend.

  5. Ernie was one of the sincerest and friendliest men we knew. He came to our home many years ago and played Santa Clause to our boys. Sandy, Clay, Scott and the rest of the family, we pray God will fill the big void that has been left. He will be missed.

  6. I met Ernie 52 years ago, while we were serving together in the 191st Assault Helicopter Company in Vietnam. Ernie’s many accomplishments while he was in the 191st, and later throughout his career have never ceased to amaze me. Simply put, Ernie was a very good man, who will be sorely missed by his many friends in the 191st and I am sure by others who had to pleasure to know him.

  7. .Sandy my twin brother Alvie Butler was a buddy to Ernie Both full of mischief.But had a heart big as Texas. 1966 these two buddies took my 3 yr.old up in the plane. He says he still remembers it.Sandy sorry to hear about your arm,take care and God Bless each of you.

  8. Ernie,I’ve known him all his life since he was a yr. younger then his buddy my twin Alvie Butler.You two are connected again in Heaven. Not knowing 20yrs.later you would be joining Alvie. Sandy my heart goes out to you and the family.God Bless each of you

  9. Ernie was such a special person. I volunteered at the Texas Panhandle War Memorial. I am not anybody special. I always had great respect for the judge. We spoke and had a friendship. One day he said Frog if you get a chance come by and see me. I did. He just wanted to visit. That is who he was.
    I thank Fred Rangel for a an honor he gave me at ceremony presenting plaques to honor our Vietnam veterans.
    As the presenter I was able to present Ernie and others with their plaques. As I presented Ernie his plaque he had tears in his eyes. He was such a humble person.
    I will miss my friend. Rest in peace Judge. You are missed already.
    Hal Levandowski

  10. Our thoughts & prayers are with you the Ernie Houdashell family! He will be greatly missed. What a great legacy & serving our country. May God be with you’ll at this time of sorrow! God Bless!

  11. Loveta,
    I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. Living in Randall County, I very much appreciated his common sense leadership. May you find comfort in sharing your wonderful family memories.
    Love you “Granny”.

  12. Ernie was a good, honorable and humorous man. He brought integrity back to Randall County and he served as our County Judge with a humbled dignity. He will be missed by those of us who knew him and by those he served.

  13. Scott, I’m so sorry this happened. Your dad was an incredible man and he shaped you into an incredible man as well. I love you!

  14. Norma and I pray for comfort for Judge Houdashell’s family. I greatly respected and admired Judge Houdashell. He did so many great things for Randall County! He was always so kind and compassionate to my clients when I appeared before him for probate and guardianship hearings. He will be greatly missed and I will always remember him.

  15. My personal relationship with Ernie came through the political area. He was one the most advanced thinking County Judges I have ever known. And his love for our community was incredible. A man of peace, integrity, and true brilliance. His ability to think outside the box was truly extraordinary.

    We will miss him greatly. Sandy, Scott, Clay and Michele please know we are praying for each of you during this very difficult time of loss. Thank you for sharing him with of us and for the support you gave him as he gave so much of himself to all of us. We ask the Lord’s greatest blessings to fill your lives.

  16. Steve & I are so heartbroken to hear of Ernies passing. He truly is one of the funniest & greatest men I know. I am grateful and honored to have known him and to call him friend. He will be deeply missed. Our thoughts & prayers go out to the Houdashell family.

  17. My deepest condolences Sandy, Michelle, Scott and Clay. I am so very sad to hear of Ernie’s passing. He was the best of the best and will be deeply missed in our community. My prayers for your sweet family.

  18. I knew Ernie as a fellow combatant while serving in the 191st Assault Helicopter, Company in Vietnam. Ernie was my door gunner on several combat mission. He was a warrior. When things went south on us he was right there to make sure we completed our mission. It was truly an honor to have served with him. Thank you for your service Ernie and may you rest in peace. A slow hand salute my friend.🙏

  19. Scott and Clay… We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family!
    Steve and Robin Wood

  20. What an amazing man and one of my most favorite people! His knowledge was unbelievable and his ingenuity in getting impossible tasks accomplished.
    He was one of the few people who understood the value of our past and saved many important tapes and documents from being destroyed!
    And a sense of humor on top of all that!!

  21. My thoughts & prayers are with the Ernie Houdashell family! He will be missed a great Godly man, husband, father, & grandpa. What a great legacy & serving our country. May God be with you’ll at this time of sorrow! God Bless!

  22. Jane and I are devastated by Ernie’s passing. He was a great man whose mark can be found almost everywhere in this area. His humor, patriotism and love of life and people will be sorely missed. The Lord has another flower in His garden – another rose in His bouquet.

  23. Ernie was always a good friend. I admired his ability to serve his country in so many ways. I was impressed with his devotion to his family. One couldn’t be around Ernie and not realize he was a patriot, but first he was a dedicated husband and father. He was a tireless worker, honest, and with unending integrity. His legacy lives on.

  24. Today I will fly a flag that was flown over the U.S. Capital on January 6, 1989, that Ernie gave to me. Today is the first time it has flown since 1989.

  25. Ernie was a great man. He was a friend of mine. He was a great judge for Randall County. Always had time to listen and was a great supporter of agriculture and the youth of Randall County. RIP my friend. You will be missed !!!

  26. Clay,
    We are heartbroken to learn of your precious father’s passing. We pray for peace for your family. What a legacy he leaves behind.

    Mark & Melinda McNutt

  27. It has been my extreme pleasure to work with Ernie for the past 18 years. Working together showed me what a kind and extraordinary man he is. His gentle sense of humor often defrayed tension in serious meetings, and he tirelessly worked for what he felt was in the best interest of Randall County. I will miss the late evening calls from him seeking advice, or requests to meet at Henry D’s . Though to be fair, he really just wanted a sounding board as he struggled with issues or came to decisions. I guess I will never collect on all those Diary Queen Blizzards now.
    Ernie Houdashell was the embodiment of integrity and honesty. I am fortunate to have worked with him and gotten to know him so well. God bless you Ernie, and Sandie, and the rest of the family. May he live forever in our hearts.

  28. What a wonderful mentor and friend. How he loved his family, country, county and friends.
    Ernie’s imprint is everywhere.
    Thank you, Sandy, Scott, Clay and Michele, for sharing him with all of us,
    Love always, dj

  29. A great friend to many, a great leader that transformed Randall County as County judge .His legacy will live on and we are grateful for his leadership .RHIP my friend and leader. You made a difference in the lives of many. Bob Robinson Randall Commissoner Pct. 3

  30. Ernie was my classmate, Hedley High, Class of ‘65, and friend for seventy years. He will be sorely missed by me and all others who knew him.

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