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Roger Coulson

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Roger Coulson Obituary
Roger Coulson


Roger Wayne Coulson passed peacefully from this life on September 17, 2013 in the presence of his family. Roger was born in Burlington, Iowa on May 7, 1921 to Elvin and Eleanor Coulson. He was a dedicated educator and counselor throughout his career and his retirement.

Roger graduated from Fort Madison High School , and completed his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from University of Iowa. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps on Peliliu Island during World War II. After his return, he taught high school and became the principal at Wilton High School in Wilton, Iowa. It was there that he met and, in 1949, married Bette Sunderlin. They spent the first 18 years of their married life in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he taught at Butler University and where their daughters Sally and Jane were born and raised. In 1968, they moved to Ames for him to head the Child Development Department at Iowa State. He retired from Iowa State in 1988 but continued to be actively involved in educational, counseling, and other volunteer services.

Roger was especially proud of the Bureau of Clinical Services at Butler University which he founded with his co-director, Dr. David P. Torbet, and his service as a consultant to the Pastoral Care and Counseling Center in Indianapolis. He is remembered by many whose lives benefited from his teaching and counseling in Indianapolis, in Boise, Idaho, and throughout Iowa. He is especially remembered at Collegiate United Methodist Church and Wesley Foundation in Ames, for his volunteer counseling and for his Parenting Class as well as many other ministries. His professional memberships include: Phi Delta Kappa, Kappa Delta Pi, National Education Association, Indiana State Teachers Association, National Council on Measurements in Education, American Psychological Association, Council for Exceptional Children, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Roger loved working with children and students, reading, learning, gardening, beautiful music, the Iowa State Cyclones, and a good laugh. His greatest pride was his family. The legacy that Roger would want is for his philosophies of service to mankind and of acceptance and love of all of God's children exactly as they are, to flourish throughout the world.

He is preceded in death by his parents; brother, Forest Coulson; and sister, Geneva Kopp. He is survived by his beloved wife of 64 years, Bette; his daughters, Sally (John) Johannsen and Jane (Gerry) Kennedy; grandchildren, Jenny Johannsen, Dan (Kerri) Johannsen, Kristin (Travis) Sullivan, Ryan (Stacey) Beeman Wieland, and Laura (Ian) Chidister; step-grandchildren, Jennifer (Keith) Kaiser and Chris (Laura) Kennedy; and 14 great-grandchildren. He will be fondly remembered by his family, a host of dear friends, and countless students.

Family visitation will be 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Friday, September 20th at Adams Funeral Home in Ames. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, September 21st at Collegiate United Methodist Church and Wesley Foundation with burial following at the ISU Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Collegiate United Methodist Church and Wesley Foundation. Condolences and photos may be shared at


Published in Des Moines Register on Sept. 19, 2013
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