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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