In 50 years of marriage, Dana and Cynthia (Walstrom) House built a family, started businesses and gave selflessly to others both locally and internationally.
Former Bloomington residents, the Houses died Jan. 14 in a car crash involving a semitrailer truck near Meade, Kan. The Houses, both 71, were traveling to their winter home in Goodyear, Ariz. The two were born and raised in northern Minnesota, he in Two Harbors and she in Cloquet. They met at Concordia College in Moorhead in 1965, and both transferred to the University of Minnesota Duluth to complete their educations.
Shortly after they were married in 1968, Dana House was drafted and served two years with the Marine Corps. After returning from military service, he started his own accounting firm that eventually became the Bloomington firm House, Nezerka & Froelich.
The firm in 1999 merged with Wisconsin-based Virchow, Krause & Co., which later became Baker Tilly Virchow Krause. House served as a managing partner of the firm’s Minneapolis office after the merger. Now known as Baker Tilly, the firm has grown to 240 people in its Minneapolis office.
Cynthia House graduated with a teaching degree, and son Darren said it was her teaching salary that carried the family as Dana started his accounting firm. Cynthia also started a data processing company that put records into electronic format. When she closed that business, she returned to school for a degree in German and taught at Minneapolis Lutheran High School.
Robert Bjork, a financial adviser, worked closely with Dana and counted him as a friend and mentor. Bjork credited Dana with pioneering work as an accountant, providing litigation support to attorneys for divorces and business separations in court and in mediation.
After retiring from Baker Tilly, House started a consulting business that provided mediation, dispute resolution and assistance with business planning and strategies.
“He had a way of communicating numbers to non-numbers people in ways that they could understand,” Bjork said.
Jeff DeYoung, now managing partner of Baker Tilly’s Minneapolis office, said Dana was a natural teacher. “He exemplified caring and empathy through his daily interactions with employees, clients and community members. His leadership style was focused on our people, not the numbers — something you might not expect from an accountant — but not surprising once you got to know Dana,” DeYoung said.
The Houses volunteered their time and expertise to various causes, including Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People (VEAP), the Cornerstone social services organization and the Bloomington Rotary. They also served international causes including Peace House Foundation, which supports education in Africa, and the International Village Clinic, a venture that helps thousands of people in rural India get access to acute care and preventive medicine.
The Houses are survived by their children, Darren House and Janet Boie, and eight grandchildren. A funeral service will be held Saturday at Peace Lutheran Church, 8600 E. Bush Lake Road, Bloomington. Visitation will be 5 to 7 p.m. Friday and before the Saturday service at the church. The family requests memorials to VEAP.