John Spencer “Spence” Houlihan

Published 10:30 am Thursday, May 18, 2023

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As we celebrate the life of John Spencer “Spence” Houlihan, who passed away peacefully on May 15, 2023, we remember his enthusiasm for life and the joy he brought to others. Born on December 2, 1946, in Winchester, Kentucky, Spence was a lifetime resident of his beloved hometown, with the exception of his time at boarding school in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin, and college at the University of Kentucky. Spence is survived by his devoted wife of 50 years, Kathy Kohlbecker Houlihan, and their two sons, John Spencer Houlihan, Jr. (Jessica) and Hunter Taylor Houlihan (Meredith), both of Lexington, KY. He was also a proud grandfather, cherishing the joyous moments spent with his grandchildren, Maysie Berres Houlihan, William Spencer Houlihan, Katherine Taylor Houlihan, and Charlotte Elaine Houlihan. He is also survived by his sister, Anne Houlihan Brown of Taos, NM, as well as several nieces, nephews, cousins, and extended family members. Spence was predeceased by his father, Edward Thomas Houlihan, Jr, his mother, Clara Taylor Spencer Houlihan, and his brothers Edward Thomas Houlihan, III and Michael Spencer Houlihan. Spence built a successful career in road construction, dedicating many years as an executive at The Walker Company in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. Following his retirement, Spence developed a passion for Thoroughbred horse racing, participating in various ownership syndicates. His retirement years were filled with many new interests and adventures. He lent a hand in Kathy’s gardening endeavors at their cherished Hampton Avenue home, embarked on new adventures with newfound friends in Estero, Florida, and spent many evenings on the back porch surrounded by neighbors and friends. One of his greatest joys was watching his grandchildren grow and thrive. With a warm heart and welcoming nature, Spence made everyone around him feel at ease. He was a reliable presence in the community, always ensuring a good time was had by all. His love for his family and friends was evident in every aspect of his life. Visitation will be held on Friday, May 19, 2023, from 5:00-7:00 PM at St. Joseph’s Church in Winchester. A funeral service is scheduled for 10:30 AM on Saturday, May 20, 2023, at St. Joseph’s Church in Winchester, led by Father Norman Fischer. A private family burial will take place at the Winchester Cemetery. Rolan G. Taylor Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly asks that donations be made to the National Kidney Foundation or St. Joseph’s Church in Spence’s memory, as a way to honor his legacy and support causes that were close to his heart.

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