A House Makes a Home: Habitat launches tribute to Janie House

April TimkoInside 640, On the Grow

Construction kickoff for a Habitat for Humanity house to honor the late Janie House is set for 9:30 a.m. today (7/10) at 1130 Parrish St. in East Knoxville.


For two decades, Marv House has exemplified Knoxville Habitat for Humanity’s mission to put God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope.

House is CEO of Merit Construction, a Knoxville Habitat business supporter and Covenant Partner. At Merit, House is a registered professional engineer in 14 states and provides top-level leadership, support and oversight to his team to ensure they have all the resources they need to succeed.

In addition to his role as a Knoxville business leader, House has also devoted years of guidance and expertise to serve Knoxville Habitat and hundreds of Knox County families in need of safe and affordable housing through board leadership, committee service and continual support.

Janie House

Marv is passionate about each and every family that goes through the Knoxville Habitat program, and for this ultimate servant leader, it’s a family affair. Marv and his late wife, Janie, have served countless families through funding and volunteerism, and they have also had their children working alongside them on builds. Marv also brings his grandson to dedications, therefore influencing multiple generations to support Knoxville Habitat. Janie was also a strong leader and supporter of the Knoxville Women Build program.

Marv and Janie were married 49 years and spent much of their lives together serving others by building homes. Following Hurricane Katrina, they did not hesitate to help rebuild, joining Habitat for Humanity International in Bay St. Louis for rebuilding and relief efforts. Marv and Janie also took a temporary but long leave from their professions and daily lives to spend almost a year with the Appalachian Service Project, building homes in rural Appalachia.

In 2016, Janie was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Before the diagnosis, Knoxville Habitat had planned to hold a dinner event honoring Marv for his service and leadership but canceled the event so the family could focus on Janie’s treatments and wellness. Through her cancer journey, they stayed in close touch with their Knoxville Habitat family, and Marv still attended dedication services to congratulate families as they became new homeowners.

On Sept. 27, 2018, Janie passed away. Donations poured in at Knoxville Habitat honoring her legacy and giving heart.

And now, Marv has led and organized a Knoxville Habitat build to honor the love of his life that will begin on her birthday, July 10. Numerous family members, some from out of town, are gathering in Knoxville for four days for the Janie House Build. Knoxville Habitat’s theme for this event is A House Makes a Home, which the family will proudly wear on T-shirts while they build. The family plans to dedicate the home on or around the date of Janie’s death.

Also present today will be Sharon Bosse, who chairs the board of directors of Knoxville Habitat and is a friend of the House family. The future homeowner, Crystal Smith, will also be there and will help with the build.

Mrs. House was a founder, owner and secretary/treasurer of Professional Construction Consulting since 1985.

April Timko handles public relations for Knoxville Habitat for Humanity.

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