At the Wednesday funeral service for his son Hunter, Steve Houle shared with a packed church his family’s thoughts and story about Hunter’s life:
For those who didn’t get the chance to know him, Charlene and I would like to share some thoughts on Hunter…what he was like.
Hunter started wearing a race helmet at the age of 2. He insisted that he wear it to bed at night and we would have to wait until he fell asleep to take it off.
He wanted to wear his helmet everywhere. We remember a time Charlene went through the bank drive-thru and the teller noticed Hunter in his car seat with his helmet on. I think her comment something like, “I’m all for child safety in a vehicle, but isn’t that going a little too far?” I’m sure she thought Char must have been a terrible driver.
He loved to ride his 120 and do race commentary at the same time. He was always pretending that he was racing against Blair Morgan, Chris Vincent or Tucker Hibbert. We could hear him yelling over the sound of his machine as he made many last lap passes for the win.
When Hunter was 3-years old we brought home a new cat and he got to pick out his name. The cat is still with us today and his name is Tucker.
As Hunter grew older, everything in his life became centered around racing. It was what he loved to do more than anything.
I tried to get him more interested in our farming operation, but if we stood shoulder-to-shoulder overlooking an empty field, I would see a good place to plant crops and he would see a great place to build a racetrack.
At the age of 8 or 9 he began working on us hard to let him start racing snowmobiles. We held him back for a long time, mainly because we just hadn’t had much snow for many years and he didn’t get to do much riding.
At the age of 13 we finally turned him loose and it didn’t take long for him to make his mark.
We’ll never forget his first race: He was so excited that he flipped his sled over right in front of everyone on the parade lap. And then on the starting line he bumped his kill switch just as the green flag dropped. Everyone took off except for him, but he got it going and was able to pass all but one sled and finish in second place.
In the next 4 years of racing he won almost 20 races, and he won 4 season points championships. In 2015 he was voted Driver of the Year.
Hunter was the best kid a parent could ask for. No drinking or smoking, and no parties. He loved kids and kids loved him.
When the grandkids came over, they would usually fly right past us, looking for Hunter and Lucas (and Amber when she was there) to play with.
He was kind and caring and a great role model for his younger brother, but he was also as tough as nails. As a child, we worried about him because he would never cry. Cuts, scrapes, bumps, bruises and broken bones…he had them all. He would say, “I think I’ll go to my room for awhile,” and he would tough it out.
We are so thankful that we were able to hold Hunter in our arms just moments after he was born.
We are thankful for the 18 short years that we were able to spend with him.
And we are thankful that Jeremy and I were able to hold him while the caregivers did everything that they could to save him as he slipped away.
We will continue to be strong in our faith, knowing that we will be with him again some day. But for now he will be missed more than any words can describe.
It helps us to remember that Hunter beat all of us in the most important race there is: the race to Heaven. For most of us it’s a marathon. For hunter it was just a sprint. I know he his happy there.
Charlene and I would like to thank all of our friends and family, and the racing community for their tremendous support. Everyone is asking what they can do to help us through this tough time.
What we would like you to do is hug your children and let them know how much you love them.
Thank you, from our family.