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UIU’s oldest alumna dies at 111

Emma Hough '26 pictured at her 110th birthday celebration.

Upper Iowa University extends its deepest sympathy to family and friends of alumna, Emma Hough, class of 1926, who passed away on Saturday, June 18.

Hough was not only Upper Iowa’s oldest alumna and friend, but at 111 was the oldest living Iowan recorded with the Iowa Department of Aging. UIU recognized her as a guest of honor during the University’s 2015 Homecoming parade. More recently, faculty and staff members attended her 111th birthday celebration in Sumner in December 2015.

“Emma could always light up a room with her energy and spirit. She will be eternally recognized as one of our most loved and cherished alumni. Since graduating nearly a century ago, Emma’s inquisitive nature and commitment to lifelong learning epitomized what it means to be a Peacock,” said UIU President William R. Duffy.

Funeral services for the UIU alumna were held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 22, 2016 at Hillcrest Home Chapel, Sumner, Iowa. Services conducted by Rev. Mike Christie. Interment at Union Mound Cemetery, Sumner, Iowa.

Emma Burkhart Hough was born on December 2, 1904 to Albert and Sarah Elizabeth (Lauterbach) Burkhart in Banks Township in Fayette County, Iowa.

Emma graduated from Sumner High School in 1922. She then attended and graduated from Upper Iowa University in 1926 with a B.A. in English Literature and Biology. She later received a B.S.L.S. in Library Science from the University of Minnesota in 1951.

An active student during her time on the Fayette campus, Hough was a member of Sigma Tau Delta, the Biology Club, Aonia, YWCA, WAA, and PEACOCK yearbook. After winning the campus tennis tournament her sophomore year, she was named the head women’s tennis coach during her final two years of college.

Emma married Charles Henry Hough on February 2, 1928. He passed away on July 30, 1981.

Emma taught physical education at Sumner, Iowa and Ironwood, Mich., Upper Peninsula, from 1944 to 1952. She was a school librarian at Manistee, Mich., from 1953 to 1969, before returning home in 1971. She was a frequent world traveler from 1981 to 1995. A resident of Hillcrest Home since 2003, Emma was a member of the United Methodist Church in Sumner.

She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents and a brother.

Memorials may be made to St. Croix Hospice, 951 N. Linn Ave. Suite 5, New Hampton, Iowa 50659, or the United Methodist Church, 115 N. Pleasant Street, Sumner, Iowa 50674.

The S. K. Rogers Funeral Home, Sumner, Iowa, was in charge of arrangements.

UIU will be placing a brick in Emma’s memory near the School of Liberal Arts building on the Fayette campus.

Emma was last featured on The Bridge Online in December 2015 when she celebrated her 111th birthday. The story can be read here.

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