In Memory of





Obituary for Billie Jean Hiers Houghton

We celebrate the life of Billie Jean Hiers Houghton who passed away peacefully on March 18, 2024.

Billie Jean was born on June 12, 1930, and raised in Moultrie, Georgia. She graduated from Georgia State College for Women in Milledgeville, GA. She later enrolled in post graduate studies at Duke University where she earned an MS in Theoretical Mathematics. During her enrollment at Duke, she was awarded an assistantship and taught Algebra to incoming freshmen.

Upon graduation, she was hired by Vitro Corporation, a defense contractor, and was sent to work at Eglin Air Force Base in western Florida. Her assignment involved mathematical evaluations of the results of military testing at Eglin.

While in Florida, Billie met her husband to be, Lindey Houghton in Fort Walton and they were married in August 1953.

While her husband was serving in the Korean War, Billie moved from Florida to the Boston, MA area to live with her in-laws. Billie was hired to work in MIT’s Women in Mathematics Group. This group later moved to MIT’s Lincoln Lab, a U.S Department of Defense funded research and development center in Lexington, MA. Her position included solving problems by using numerical analysis techniques and Fortran programming.

She left MIT in 1965 to focus on raising 3 children. By the mid-1970s, Billie began taking graduate level courses at Boston University and obtained her teacher’s certification. She began teaching at Brookwood school shortly thereafter with a focus on mathematics and introducing a computer science curriculum. She retired from Brookwood School in 1997.

Sadly, at the age of 54, her husband passed away in 1985. 15 years later, she would marry Wesley Vanderhorst and move to Essex, N.Y..

Billie was a very devout Christian, most recently a member of the Essex Community Church. She joined the choir and eventually became the Choir Director along with playing the piano at church until her late 80’s. She loved playing the piano, which she frequently did at her home in Essex.

She loved playing tennis, loved all Boston Pro Sports. She followed the Red Sox closely, discussing trades, and their position in the standings. When the Patriots won their first Super Bowl, her children recalled a late-night phone call as she was so excited about the win.

Billie Jean Hiers Houghton lived a full life. She cared greatly about people. Without a doubt, she had a tremendous impact on numerous people throughout her life as a Mom, a Grandmother, a teacher, a Churchgoer, a neighbor, and a friend. Her wisdom will be missed.

Billie is survived by her three children and their spouses, Lindley Jr. and Nancy Houghton, Judy and Peter Hack, Keith and Jeannette Houghton, 5 grandchildren, one great grandchild, 7 nieces and nephews and two sisters.
There will be a Memorial Service later in the year.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making donations to the Essex Community Church in Essex, N.Y., 12936. Please visit to share your memories.