New Castle News


April 21, 2012

Family, friends observe Kenzie Houk’s birthday

NEW CASTLE — Kenzie Marie Houk would have been 30 years old on Friday.

She died on Feb. 20, 2009, at the age of 26, shot in the back of the head as she lay in her bed.

She was eight months pregnant. Her unborn son died with her.

Kenzie had lived in a New Beaver Borough farmhouse with her fiancé Chris Brown, his son, Jordan, and her daughters, Jenessa and Adalynn, when the shooting occurred.

A Lawrence County judge last week ruled Jordan, 14, as delinquent and responsible for Kenzie’s death. He was 11 years old at the time of the incident. He remains in juvenile custody.

Kenzie’s family and friends will gather at her grave tomorrow at Parkside Cemetery in Shenango Township for an annual birthday party and balloon launch in her memory.

 The gathering typically is celebrated with music, memories and messages.

“We began this when the girls were young,” said Kenzie’s mother, Debbie Houk. She and her husband, Jack, are raising their granddaughters.

“They wrote messages that they wanted to give to their mother and tied them to a balloon. The balloons were filled with helium and let go. We’d watch them float up and away.”

 Houk said the family has gathered in this celebration of her daughter’s life each year since 2009.

Usually it is on Kenzie’s birthday. This year, however, they agreed to move the celebration to Sunday.

Houk and her mother, Dorothy Burns, visited Kenzie’s grave yesterday morning to decorate it with birthday balloons.

She returned with Jenessa, 11, and Adalynn, 7, last night, and Adalynn placed a picture at the grave. There also are yellow roses, Kenzie’s favorite flowers.

Houk said the family visits the graves of Kenzie and her son frequently.

“We live only a few minutes away,” she said. “We often just drive through, past Kenzie’s grave, on the way to and from places.”

She said the girls often shout out “Hi, Mom!” and “Miss ya, Mom!” as they pass.

“They miss her. They always will,” Houk said. “Just as I do.”


Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • 12.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Night light

    The balloons may have been on the ground but spirits were soaring.


    July 25, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • StateFair.jpg 'State Fair' coming to Playhouse

    The fair is coming to town. No, not the Lawrence County Fair, although that is right around the corner. This is the Iowa State Fair, and it will be live on the stage of the New Castle Playhouse for three weeks, starting Friday night.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • accountant.jpg DeLorenzo’s status with authority unchanged

    Deno DeLorenzo’s status as a contract employee with the New Castle Sanitation Authority remains unchanged. Authority board members met with DeLorenzo last week regarding an investigation by the Lawrence County district attorney’s office involving Shenango Township funds.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Detroit area man dies in Ellwood City gunfire

    A triple shooting in an Ellwood City street has claimed the life of a Detroit area man. Gunfire erupted in the middle of Loop Street outside the Walnut Ridge housing project around 10:20 p.m. Sunday, according to state police.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baptism1.jpg Dipped downtown

    John the Baptist identified himself as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ ” On Saturday, local evangelist Randy Crum once again took a cue from the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, eschewing the locusts and honey that John was known to munch on but heading out into the wilds to baptize believers and challenge them to share their faith with their community.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • lamancusa.jpg Tanner, district attorney: No comment

    The Lawrence County District Attorney is keeping mum about a probe into finances in Shenango Township. “We don’t talk about ongoing investigations,” Lamancusa said Friday.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • Shenango1.jpg Shenango Township: Supervisors fire Tanner, release DeLorenzo

    The Shenango supervisors fired township secretary/treasurer Brian Tanner and terminated auditor and consultant Deno DeLorenzo last night.

    July 18, 2014 3 Photos 4 Stories

  • gavel.jpg Shenango to take action on Tanner, DeLorenzo

    Shenango’s supervisors will act Thursday night on the employment contracts of two men being investigated for possible theft of township funds.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • money.jpg Shenango computers, financial papers seized

    Investigators have seized computers and a host of financial paperwork from the Shenango Township Municipal Building.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • money.jpg Second warrant issued in Shenango Township finances probe

    The home office of Shenango Township’s secretary/treasurer is the subject of a search warrant. A warrant was approved allowing investigators from the Lawrence County district attorney’s office to search Brian Tanner’s home office at 658 Melody Lane Extension in Shenango and seize all computers and computer records.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

House Ads

"State Fair" opens at the New Castle Playhouse tonight. Will you be checking out the show?

Definitely! I've already got my tickets.
Maybe. I'm not sure.
Nah, it's not for me.
     View Results